Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
III. Upari-Paṇṇāsa
4. Vibhaŋga 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 132

Mahā Kaccāna Bhadd'Eka-Ratta Suttaɱ

True Saint III

 


[192] [263]

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

Once when the Lord was staying at Rājagaha
in the Tapoda (hot springs) pleasaunce
the reverend Samiddhi,
rising up at daybreak,
be took him to the hot springs
to bathe his limbs,
and, having come out of the water,
was standing in a single garment drying himself.

To him came a deity [264] of surpassing beauty
who, as night waned, illumined all the place.

Standing to one side,
the deity asked Samiddhi whether he knew by heart
the exposition and analysis of the True Saint.

No, sir, I do not.

Do you?

No, Almsman.

Do you know the verses?

No, sir, I do not.

Do you?

No, Almsman.

Like you, I do not know the verses.

Study, learn and master that exposition
and analysis of the True Saint, Almsman;
it is fruitful for good
and is fundamental for the higher life.

With these words
the deity vanished from sight.

When night had passed away,
Samiddhi went to the Lord
and after salutations
took his seat to one side.

Then he related all that passed between him and the deity,
[193] ending with the request
that the Lord would teach him
the exposition and analysis of the True Saint.

Listen then and pay attention, Almsman,
and I will speak,
said the Lord,
who spoke as follows:

Let past be past; nor future longings house;
- the past is dead, the morrow not yet born.
Whoso with insight scans his heart to-day,
let him ensue eternal Changelessness!
Toil then to-day. To-morrow death may come,
- who knows? No bargain holds death's hosts at bay.
Whoso, by night and day unceasingly,
lives still to struggle onward, he it is
is called True Saint; - the Perfect Sage is he.

At this point the Blessed One arose and went to his cell.

He had not been gone long
when the Almsmen,
realizing that the Lord had left them with a terse utterance
without expository presentment
and without elucidation of import
and wondering who could furnish them
with the exposition and the elucidation,
[194] bethought them that here was the reverend Mahā-Kaccāna
who was held in great honour and esteem
alike by the Master and by his fellows in the higher life,
and who could elucidate the meaning
of the Lord's terse utter- [265] ance.

So they went to him
and after greetings
told him how the Lord had left them
with that terse utterance
and that, after he had so left them,
they had decided to turn to the Elder
for its elucidation.

Said he: -

This proceeding is just like a man
in need and quest of choice timber,
who, as he hunts around for it,
comes on a fine upstanding timber-tree,
[195] but passes over
both the root and the trunk
and imagines he will find what he wants
in the boughs and the twiggage.

Although the Master is present among you,
yet, disregarding the Lord,
you imagine me to be the person to ask
for the explanation.

The Lord, sirs, knows with all knowing
and sees with all seeing;
is the embodiment of vision,
of knowledge,
of the Doctrine,
and of all excellence;
is the propounder,
expounder
and the unfolder of meanings;
is the giver of Nirvana's ambrosia,
is lord of the Doctrine,
is the Truth-finder.

Clearly, now is the time
to ask your questions of the Lord in person,
with intent to treasure up what he may reveal.

Admitting this, the Almsmen still pressed on the reverend Mahā-Kaccāna
their request that he would expound and elucidate.

Consenting, he spoke as follows: -

The Lord's pregnant utterance was:

Let past be past; nor future longings house;
- the past is dead, the morrow not yet born.
Whoso with insight scans his heart to-day,
let him ensue eternal Changelessness!
Toil then to-day. To-morrow death may come,
- who knows? No bargain holds death's hosts at bay.
Whoso, by night and day unceasingly,
lives still to struggle onward, he it is
is called True Saint; - the Perfect Sage is he.

I take the detailed meaning
of this pregnant utterance to be as follows: -

How, Almsmen, does a man hark back to the past? -

At the thought that in the past
such and such was his eye,
such and such were [196] the visible shapes he saw,
his mentality becomes enchained
by the incitements of passion, -
which makes him delight therein
and thereby hark back to the past.

And the same is equally true
of ear
and smell [sic. nose],
of taste
touch
and mind,
and of their several objects respectively.

How does a man not hark back? -

By keeping his [266] mentality
un-chained by the incitements of passion
due to such memories.

How does a man have longings for the future? -

At the thought that
in the future his eye may be such and such,
and that such and such may be
the visible shapes he will see,
he turns his heart
to getting something he has not got, -
which makes him delignt therein
and thereby have longings for the future.

And the same is equally true
of ear
and smell,
of taste
touch
and mind,
and of their several objects respectively.

[197] How does a man
not have longings for the future? -

By not turning his heart
to any such aspirations.

How is a man swept away
by present states of consciousness?

Eye and visible shape
are both of the present,
and it is just with this present
that his mentality becomes enchained
by the incitements of passion,
- which makes him delight therein
and thereby fail to stand firm in the present.

And the same is equally true
of ear
and smell,
of taste
touch
and mind,
and of their several objects respectively.

How is a man not swept away
by present states of consciousness? -

By keeping his mentality un-chained
by the incitements of passion
due to such memories.

[198] This then, said he in conclusion,
is my exposition and elucidation
of this terse utterance of the Lord.

Should your reverences be in any doubt,
you should go to him and ask him,
treasuring up in your memories what he may reveal.

Accordingly, with grateful thanks to the reverend Mahā-Kaccāna,
those Almsmen betook them to the Lord,
to whom they first related [199] how they had sought
for an exposition and elucidation
of that terse utterance of the Lord
from the reverend Mahā-Kaccāna,
and then narrated how he had expounded it.

Learned, Almsmen,
is Mahā-Kaccāna,
rich in lore.

Had you asked me,
I should have said just the same;
for, this is the precise meaning,
which you should treasure up in your memories accordingly.

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


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