Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
III. Upari-Paṇṇāsa
1. Devadaha 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 101

Devadaha Suttaɱ

Jain Fatuities

 


[214] [123]

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

Once when the Lord was dwelling among the Sakyans
in their township of Devadaha,
he addressed the attentive Almsmen as follows: -

Some recluses and brahmins there are
who affirm and hold the view that,
whatsoever the individual experiences -
be it pleasant or unpleasant or neither -
all comes from former actions.

Hence, by expiation and purge of former misdeeds
and by not committing fresh misdeeds,
nothing accrues for the future;
as nothing accrues for the future,
the misdeeds die away;
as misdeeds die away,
Ill dies away;
as Ill dies away,
feelings die away;
and as feelings die away,
all Ill will wear out and pass. -

This is what the Nigaṇṭhas affirm.

Consequently, I go to them
and, after being assured
that this is a correct version of their view,
enquire whether they really know
that they were in existence before this
and not non-existent.

No, they don't know,
is their answer.

Do you know, I ask them further,
that in former existences
you were guilty of misdeeds
and were not guiltless thereof?

No.

Do you know that then
you were guilty of such and such a specific misdeed
and were not guiltless thereof?

[124] Do you know that
so much Ill has already been outworn,
or that
so much more remains to be outworn,
or that,
when so much Ill has been outworn,
all Ill will have passed?

No.

Do you know that,
here and now,
wrong dispositions have been got rid of
and right dispositions acquired?

No.

So I understand, sirs,
that you Nigaṇṭhas have no knowledge
whether or no you existed before this;
have no knowledge
whether or no, in previous existences,
you were guilty of misdeeds,
either generally or specifically;
have no knowledge
how much Ill within you
is already outworn
or how much remains to become outworn
before all Ill will have worn out;
and have no knowledge that,
here and now,
wrong dispositions have been got rid of
and right dispositions acquired.

This being so,
'twere not proper for Nigaṇṭhas to explain that,
whatsoever feelings the individual experiences -
be it pleasant or unpleasant or neither -
all comes from former actions.

Hence, by expiation and purge of former misdeeds
and by not committing fresh misdeeds,
nothing accrues for the future;
as nothing accrues for the future,
the misdeeds die away;
as misdeeds die away,
Ill dies away;
as Ill dies away,
feelings die away;
and as feelings die away,
all Ill will wear out and pass. -

Only if you Nigaṇṭhas had,
as you have not,
definite knowledge on these several points,
would it be proper for you to offer the explanation you do offer.

[216] It is just as if a man were pierced by an arrow thickly smeared with poison,
and his friends and kinsfolk were to get a surgeon skilled in arrow-wounds
who should cut with a knife the external wound,
next probe for the barb,
then extract the barb,
and finally dress the external wound with medicated embers, -
causing the patient at each stage
feelings of acute pain and anguish;
but later on,
when the wound has healed and closed up,
the patient recovers
and is quite well and comfortable,
able to look after himself
and go where he will,
and fully alive to the foregoing stages
of his cure [217] and recovery.

It would be just the same, Nigaṇṭhas,
with you if you actually knew
that you existed before this
and were not non-existent;
if you actually knew that,
in previous existences,
you were guilty of misdeeds,
[125] either generally or specifically;
if you actually knew
how much Ill is already outworn
and how much remains to become outworn
before all Ill will have worn out and pass away;
if you actually knew that,
here and now,
wrong dispositions have been got rid of
and right dispositions acquired; -
then indeed 'twere proper for Nigaṇṭhas to explain that,
whatsoever feelings the individual experiences -
be it pleasant or unpleasant or neither -
all comes from former actions.

Hence, by expiation and purge of former misdeeds
and by not committing fresh misdeeds,
nothing accrues for the future;
as nothing accrues for the future,
the misdeeds die away;
as misdeeds die away,
Ill dies away;
as Ill dies away,
feelings die away;
and as feelings die away,
all Ill will wear out and pass. -

But as you have not that knowledge,
'twere not proper to offer the explanation you do offer.

Hereupon those Nigaṇṭhas told me
that [218] Nātaputta the Nigaṇṭha was all-knowing and all-seeing,
with nothing beyond his ken and vision,
and that he affirmed of himself that,
whether walking or standing,
sleeping or awake,
he was always,
without a break,
at his spiritual best.

These, they added, were his words: -

You have done misdeeds, Nigaṇṭhas,
in past existences;
wear it out by severe austerities;
every present restraint
on body, speech and mind
will undo the evil-doings of the past;
hence, by expiation and purge of past misdeeds
and by not doing fresh misdeeds,
nothing accrues for the future;
as nothing accrues for the future,
misdeeds die away;
as misdeeds die away,
Ill dies away;
as Ill dies away,
feelings die away,
and as painful feelings die away,
all Ill will wear out and pass away.

This doctrine, they added,
commends itself to us
and has our approval,
and we rejoice in it.

Said I to those Nigaṇṭhas: -

Here are five qualities
each of which has here and now
an alternative outcome, -namely
faith,
inclination,
authority,
appreciation and intellectual enthusiasm.

Herein, what faith have Nigaṇṭhas hitherto shown towards their teacher?

What inclination towards him?

What authority do they recognize in him?

What is their appreciation?

Or what intellectual enthusiasm have they?

Such is the doctrine of the Nigaṇṭhas;
I got nothing from them
in the way of an effectual answer.

Addressing myself again to those Nigaṇṭhas,
I asked them whether,
when they were violent in their efforts and strivings,
they concomitantly experienced [126] attendant feelings
of violent pain and anguish,
and whether, when they ceased from violence of effort,
they found their violent pain and anguish ceased too.

Yes; that was what they found in both cases.

[219] It comes to this then
that the one goes with the other; -
with violence of effort
you suffer pain and anguish,
whereas without that violence
you do not.

Now, on this showing
it would be quite wrong for you Nigaṇṭhas to explain that,
whatsoever feelings the individual experiences -
be it pleasant or unpleasant or neither -
all comes from former actions.

Hence, by expiation and purge of former misdeeds
and by not committing fresh misdeeds,
nothing accrues for the future;
as nothing accrues for the future,
the misdeeds die away;
as misdeeds die away,
Ill dies away;
as Ill dies away,
feelings die away;
and as feelings die away,
all Ill will wear out and pass. -

And the same would equally hold good
if the violent pain and anguish still went on,
whether you were then violent,
or had ceased to be violent,
in your efforts and strivings.

But as your attendant pains start with,
and cease with,
your violent efforts and strivings,
you are yourselves the authors
of your own violent pain and anguish,
and it is through ignorance,
lack of knowledge and delusion
that [220] you torture yourselves
into the mistaken belief that,
whatsoever feelings the individual experiences -
be it pleasant or unpleasant or neither -
all comes from former actions.

Hence, by expiation and purge of former misdeeds
and by not committing fresh misdeeds,
nothing accrues for the future;
as nothing accrues for the future,
the misdeeds die away;
as misdeeds die away,
Ill dies away;
as Ill dies away,
feelings die away;
and as feelings die away,
all Ill will wear out and pass. -

Such is the doctrine of the Nigaṇṭhas;
I got nothing from them
the way of an effectual answer.

Addressing myself once again to those Nigaṇṭhas,
I asked them whether it was feasible
for effort and striving to postpone to a future state
the fruits of action which ripen here and now?

No, they answered.

Or vice versâ?

No.

Or to turn pleasant fruits of action
into unpleasant?

No.

Or vice versâ?

Or to change ripe fruits of action
into unripe?

No.

Or vice versâ?

No.

[221] Or to make big fruits of action into small?

No.

Or vice versâ?

[127] No.

Or to cancel them?

No.

Or to fabricate them?

No.

By combining your negative answers,
it comes to this then,
that the Nigaṇṭhas' [222] efforts and strivings are fruitless.

Such is the doctrine of the Nigaṇṭhas,
ten of whose operative utterances,
major and minor,
are to be condemned: -

(i) If it is because of their former deeds
that creatures experience pleasure and pain,
clearly the Nigaṇṭhas have a guilty past,
since they now suffer pain and anguish.

(ii) If it is because of a creator
that creatures experience pleasure and pain,
clearly the Nigaṇṭhas had a bad creator,
since they now suffer pain and anguish.

(iii) If it is because of companionship
that creatures experience pleasure and pain,
clearly the Nigaṇṭhas keep bad company,
since they now suffer pain and anguish.

(iv) If it is because of the particular environment they are born into
that creatures experience pleasure and pain,
clearly the Nigaṇṭhas have found a bad environment,
since they now suffer pain and anguish.

(v) If it is because of their efforts and strivings here and now
that creatures experience pleasure and pain,
clearly the Nigaṇṭhas' efforts are bad,
since they now suffer pain and anguish.

(vi) If it is because of their former deeds
that creatures experience pleasure and pain,
the Nigaṇṭhas are blameworthy,
and they are also blameworthy
if former deeds are not the cause.

(vii) If it is because of a creator
that creatures experience pleasure and pain,
the Nigaṇṭhas are blameworthy,
and they are also blameworthy
if a creator is not the cause.

(viii) If it is because of companionship
that creatures experience pleasure and pain,
the Nigaṇṭhas are [128] blameworthy,
and they are also blameworthy
if the company they keep is not the cause.

(ix) If It is because of their birth's environment
that creatures experience pleasure and pain,
the Nigaṇṭhas are blameworthy,
and they are also blameworthy
if environment is not the cause.

(x) If it is because of their efforts and strivings
that creatures experience pleasure and pain,
the Nigaṇṭhas are blameworthy,
[223] and they are also blameworthy
if efforts and strivings are not the cause.

Such is the doctrine of the Nigaṇṭhas,
ten of whose operative utterances,
major and minor,
invite censure.

Thus fruitless are their efforts and strivings.

Now, Almsmen, how do efforts and strivings
prove fruitful? -

Take the case of an Almsman
who does not defile with Ill
his undefiled self,
nor fritter away the bliss
which the Doctrine gives,
but keeps it undefiled.

He comes to know how,
by wrestling with one constituent of Ill's sources,
he can induce passionlessness,
and how he can induce it,
as regards another constituent,
by fostering indifference of mind;
and he proceeds to induce passionlessness
by the pertinent method accordingly
and thus Ill becomes outworn and passes away.

It is just like a man who,
being violently in love with a woman,
sees her standing about
and chatting
and laughing
and talking with another man.

Would the sight pain him
and make him miserable?

Yes, sir:
because he is so violently in love with her
that he [224] would be very much pained at the sight.

Suppose now this man were to reflect
that, being violently in love with the woman,
he had been much distressed
by seeing her with another man,
and that consequently he would do well
to rid himself of his love for her.

Suppose he does so
and later on sees her laughing
and talking
with another.

Would the sight still pain him
and make him miserable?

No, sir;
because he has lost all his old passion for her
and therefore does not mind.

[129] It is j'ust the same with the Almsman
who does not defile with Ill
his undefiled self,
nor fritter away the bliss
which the Doctrine gives,
but keeps it undefiled.

He comes to know how,
by wrestling with one constituent of Ill's sources,
he can induce passionlessness,
and how he can induce it,
as regards another constituent,
by fostering indifference of mind;
and he proceeds to induce passionlessness
by the pertinent method accordingly
and thus [225] Ill becomes outworn and passes away.-

And this is how efforts and strivings prove fruitful.

Again, the Almsman reflects that,
if he leads a careless pleasant life,
wrong dispositions wax apace within him
while right dispositions wane;
and concludes to wrestle with his Ill,
with the result that wrong dispositions now wane
while right dispositions wax apace.

Henceforth he wrestles no more, -
because his wrestling has been crowned with entire success.

It is like a fletcher
who heats a shaft amain with two brands
till he has got it straight and serviceable,
but stops doing so when his purpose is served,
simply because it is served.

Just in the same way
the Almsman who wrestles down
the Ill which besets him,
wrestles no more,
when, and because, his wrestling
has been [226] crowned with entire success. -

This too is how efforts and strivings prove fruitful.

Again, Almsmen, into this world there comes 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.

When he has put from him these five Hindrances
and has understood how the heart's shortcomings weaken it,
then, divested of pleasures of the senses
and divested of wrong dispositions,
he develops and dwells in the First Ecstasy
with all its zest and satisfaction, -
a state bred of inward aloofness,
not divorced from observation and reflection. -

This too is how efforts and strivings prove fruitful.

Rising above reasoning and reflection,
he enters 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 too is how efforts and strivings prove fruitful.

By shedding the emotion of zest,
he enters on,
and abides in,
the Third Ecstasy,
with its poised equanimity,
mindful and self-possessed,
feeling in my frame
the satisfaction of which the Noble say
that poise and mindfulness bring abiding satisfaction.

This too is how efforts and strivings prove fruitful.

By putting from him both satisfaction and dissatisfaction,
and by shedding the joys and sorrows he used to feel,
he enters 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 too is how efforts and strivings prove fruitful.

With heart thus stedfast,
thus clarified and purified,
clean and cleansed of things impure,
tempered and apt to serve,
stablished and immutable, -
it is thus that he applies his heart to the knowledge which recalled 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,
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 does he call to mind his divers existences of the past
in all their details and features.

This too is how efforts and strivings prove fruitful.

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
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 [130] in states of bliss in heaven.

This too is how efforts and strivings prove fruitful.

[227] 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 comprehends,
aright and to the full,
what the Cankers are,
with their origin,
cessation,
and the course that leads to their cessation.

When he knows and sees this
his heart is released 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:

Rebirth is now no more;
I have lived the highest life;
and now for me there is no more of what I have been. -

This, to, is how efforts and strivings prove fruitful.

Such is the doctrine of the Truth-finder,
ten of whose intrinsic attributes are to be extolled: -

(i) If it is because of their former deeds
that creatures experience pleasure and pain,
clearly the Truth-finder has a blameless past,
since his present feelings are pleasant
and freed from all Cankers.

(ii) If it is because of a creator
that creatures experience pleasure and pain,
clearly the Truth-finder had a good creator,
since his present feelings are pleasant
and freed from all Cankers.

(iii) If it is because of companionship
that creatures experience pleasure and pain,
clearly the Truth-finder keeps good company,
since his present feelings are pleasant
and freed from all Cankers.

(iv) If it is because of the particular environment they have been born into
that creatures experience pleasure and pain,
clearly the Truth-finder has found a good environment,
since his present feelings are pleasant
and freed from all Cankers.

(v) If it is because of efforts and strivings here and now
that creatures experience pleasure and pain,
clearly the Truth-finder's efforts and strivings have been good,
since his present feelings are pleasant
and freed from all Cankers.

[131] (vi) If it is because of their former deeds
that creatures experience pleasure and pain,
praise is the due of the Truth-finder;
as praise is also his due
if former deeds are not the cause.

(vii) If it is because of a creator
that creatures experience pleasure and pain,
praise is the due of the Truth-finder;
as praise is also his due
if a creator is not the cause.

(viii) If it is because of companionship
that creatures experience pleasure and pain,
praise is the due of the Truth-finder;
as praise is also his due
if the company he keeps is not the cause.

(ix) If it is because of their birth's environment
that creatures experience pleasure and pain,
praise is the due of the Truth-finder;
as praise is also his due
if environment is not the cause.

(x) If it is because of their efforts and strivings
that creatures experience pleasure and pain,
praise is the due of the Truth-finder;
as praise is also his due
[228] if efforts and strivings are not the cause.

Such is the doctrine of the Truth-finder,
ten of whose intrinsic attributes are to be extolled.

Thus spoke the Lord.

Glad at heart,
those Almsmen rejoiced in what the Lord had said.


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