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 136

Mahā Kamma-Vibhaŋga Suttaɱ

Our Heritage from Our Past II

 


[207] [272]

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

Once when the Lord was staying at Rājagaha
in the Bamboo grove where the squirrels were fed,
there was living in the Forest Hut there the reverend Samiddhi, -
to whom in the course of his walks
came Potali-putta the Wanderer.

Sitting down after greetings,
Potali-putta said to Samiddhi: -

From the recluse Gotama's own lips
I have heard with my own ears
his statement that:

All you do is vain,
and all you say is vain;
what passes in your mind
is the only real thing that matters.

A stage can be reached
in which there is no feeling whatever.

Do not say this,
reverend Potali-putta;
do not say this;
do not misrepresent the Lord;
for the Lord certainly would not say that.

How long have you been a Pilgrim,
reverend Samiddhi?

Not long, sir; -
three years.

Why shall we speak on this matter with Elders,
when here is so recent an Almsman
ready to defend the Master against criticism?

Tell me, reverend Samiddhi,
- what does a man experience
who acts with body voice or mind,
of set purpose?

He experiences what is unpleasant. [273] Hereupon, Potali-putta the Wanderer,
neither expressed satisfaction nor dissent,
but simply rose up and went away.

Not long after Potali-putta had gone,
Samiddhi went to the reverendĀnanda
[208] and, after greetings,
took a seat beside him.

Ānanda, after hearing the whole of the talk with Potali-putta,
said this was a thing to tell the Lord,
to whom accordingly he took Samiddhi
that they might learn the Lord's view.

When they came to the Lord's presence
and had taken their seats beside him after salutations,
Ānanda reported the whole of the conversation to the Lord,
who rejoined that he disapproved of Potali-putta's conclusion
and still more
of such an argument as this.

Why, said he, this foolish Samiddhi
has given a simple direct reply
to a question by Potali-putta
which required careful qualifications in the answer!

At this point the reverend (Lola) Udāyi said to the Lord: -

But how, sir, if the purport
of the reverend Samiddhi's words
was that Ill in general
was always the outcome
of feelings experienced?

Said the Lord to Ānanda: -

Mark this foolish Udāyi's error;
I knew in advance
that this foolish person would pop up with a blunder.

Potali-putta's question really involved three distinct sets of feelings.

If foolish Samiddhi,
[209] when confronted with that triple question,
had made the following reply: -

If his purposeful act
with body voice or mind
is calculated to produce a pleasant feeling,
his experience is pleasant;
if the act is calculated to produce an unpleasant feeling,
his experience is unpleasant:
if the act is calculated to produce neither a pleasant nor an unpleasant feeling,
then his experience is neither pleasant nor unpleasant;
- had foolish Samiddhi given this answer,
he would have been giving the right answer.

Yet who, Ānanda,
among the blind and foolish Wanderers of other creeds,
will comprehend the Truth-finder's
detailed Classification of Acts,
if you were to hear it from his lips?

Now is the time. Lord,
now is the time for the Lord
to expound his classification.

The Almsmen will [274] treasure in their memories
what they hear from the Lord's lips.

Well then, Ānanda,
listen attentively
and 1 will speak.

Yes, sir, was the reverend Ānanda's dutiful response;
and the Lord spoke thus: -

There are four (types of) individuals
living and existent in the world.

What are the four?

(i) Take the case of an individual here
who slays,
gives not,
fornicates,
lies,
traduces others,
reviles them,
tattles,
covets,
is malevolent of heart
and wrong in his outlook. -

He, at the body's dissolution after death,
passes hence to misery and woe or to purgatory.

(ii) Or, again, such an individual
may pass hence to bliss in heaven.

(iii) Take now the case
of an individual who never slays,
who gives freely,
who never fornicates,
or lies,
or traduces,
[210] who never reviles,
never tattles
or covets
or is malevolent of heart,
but is right in his outlook. -

He, at the body's dissolution after death,
passes hence to bliss in heaven.

(iv) Or, again, such an individual
may pass hence to misery and woe or purgatory.

Take the case, Ānanda,
of a recluse or brahmin who,
by reason of ardour,
effort,
devotion,
perseverance
and highest intellection,
reaches such rapt concentration
that, with heart thus stedfast, he sees -
by the Eye Celestial
that is pure
and far surpasses the human eye -
our first individual,
who was of murderous habits and so forth
and who had the wrong outlook,
sees him now
in a state of misery and woe or in purgatory;
and the sight convinces him
that there are such things as evil deeds,
and that wrong courses
come to their ripening.

For, with his own eyes
he has seen an evil-doer
installed after death
in purgatory!

Accordingly,
the only sound conclusion to his mind
is that all such evil-doers
come to this doom hereafter, -
any other conclusion being wrong.

Thus it is with obstinacy tenacity and pertinacity
that he insists that what he has
known seen and discerned for himself
is the sole truth,
all else being false.

A second recluse or brahmin
[211] similarly comes to [275] see our second individual,
who was of murderous habits and so forth
and who had the wrong outlook,
now in a state of bliss in heaven;
and the sight convinces him
that there are no such things as evil deeds,
nor do wrong courses come to their ripening.

For, with his own eyes
he has seen an evil-doer
installed after death in bliss in heaven!

Accordingly, to his mind
the only sound conclusion
is that all sucn evil-doers are similarly rewarded hereafter, -
any other conclusion being wrong.

Thus it is with obstinacy tenacity and pertinacity
that he insists that
what he has known seen and discerned for himself
is the sole truth,
all else being false.

A third recluse or brahmin
similarly comes to see
in the bliss of heaven after death
our third individual,
who never took life and so forth
and had the right outlook.

He is thereby convinced
that there are such things as good deeds
and that right courses
come to their ripening.

For with his own eyes
he has seen a good-liver
installed after death
in bliss in heaven!

Accordingly, to his mind
the only sound conclusion
is that all such good-livers
are similarly rewarded hereafter, -
any other conclusion being wrong.

Thus it is with obstinacy tenacity and pertinacity
that he insists that
what he has known seen and discerned for himself
is the sole truth,
all else being false.

A fourth recluse or brahmin
comes to see [212] in misery and woe or in purgatory after death
our fourth individual,
who never took life and so forth
and had the right outlook;
and the sight convinces him
that there are no such things as good deeds
nor do right courses
come to their ripening!

For, with his own eyes
he has seen a good-liver
installed after death
in misery and woe or purgatory.

Accordingly, to his mind
the only sound conclusion
is that all such good-livers
come to this doom hereafter.

Thus it is with obstinacy tenacity and pertinacity
that he insists that
what he has known seen and discerned for himself
is the sole truth,
all else being false.

Now, Ānanda,
I agree with that recluse or brahmin
who says that there are such things as good deeds
and [276] right courses coming to their ripening;
I agree too
with him when he says
he has seen in purgatory
a man of murderous habits and so forth
who had the wrong outlook;
I disagree with him
when he asserts that
this is the fate of all such persons;
I disagree with him
both when he asserts that his conclusion is the only sound one, -
any other conclusion being wrong, -
and also when he insists so obstinately
that truth resides exclusively
in what he has personally known seen and discerned for himself.

And why?

Because, Ānanda,
the conclusion is different
in the Truth-finder's classification of acts.

I am in disagreement
with the recluse or brahmin
who says there are no such things as evil deeds,
nor do wrong causes come to their ripening;
but I agree with him when he says
he has seen in heaven
a man of murderous habits and so forth
who had the wrong outlook.

I disagree with him
both when he asserts ... [213] classification of acts.

I am in agreement with the recluse or brahmin
who says that there are such things as good deeds
and that right courses come to their ripening;
and I am in agreement with him
when he says he has seen a good-liver in heaven.

I disagree with him
both when he asserts ... classification of acts.

I am in disagreement with the recluse or brahmin
who says there are no such things as good deeds
nor do right courses come to their ripening;
I agree with him
when he says he has seen a good-liver in purgatory;
I disagree with him
when he asserts that this is the fate of all such persons.

I disagree with him
both when he asserts [214] that his conclusion is the only sound one, -
any other conclusion being wrong;
and when he insists so obstinately
that truth resides exclusively
in what he has personally known seen and discerned for himself.

And why?

Because, Ānanda,
the conclusion is different
in the Truth-finder's classification of acts.

Begin, Ānanda,
with the man of murderous habits here and so forth
and with the wrong outlook,
who, at [277] the body's dissolution after death,
is reborn into a state of misery and woe or in purgatory.

This man either aforetime
(in a previous birth),
or thereafter
(in his latest existence here),
did evil deeds which result in painful experiences,
or else at the time of his death
had a wrong outlook
in which he persisted of his deliberate choice; -
and that is why,
at the body's dissolution after death,
he is reborn into a state of misery and woe or in purgatory.

His murderous habits and so forth
and his wrong outlook
are experienced in their ripening
either here and now
or in his rebirth
or in some other manner.

If, with murderous habits here and so forth
and with the wrong outlook,
the man is reborn at death
into a state of bliss in heaven,
that is because,
either aforetime or thereafter,
he had done good deeds
which result in happy experiences,
or else,
at the time of his death,
he had secured and chosen the right outlook.

His murderous habits and so forth
and his (previously) wrong outlook
are experienced in their ripening
either here and now
or in his rebirth
or in some other manner.

If, with non-murderous habits here and so forth
and with the right outlook,
the man at death
is reborn into a state of bliss in heaven,
that is because,
either aforetime or thereafter,
he had done good deeds
which result in happy experiences,
or else,
at the time of his death,
he had secured and chosen the right outlook.

His non-murderous past [215] and so forth
and his right outlook
are experienced in their ripening
either here or now
or in his rebirth
or in some other manner.

If, with non-murderous habits here and so forth
and with the right outlook,
the man is reborn
into a state of misery and woe or purgatory,
this is because,
either aforetime or thereafter,
he had done evil deeds
which result in painful experiences,
or else,
at the time of his death,
he had secured and chosen the wrong outlook.

His non-murderous habits here and so forth
and his (previously) right outlook
are experienced in their ripening
either here and now
or in his rebirth
or in some other way.

[278] Thus, Ānanda, there is Karma which is -

(i) not only inoperative but also looked like being so;

(ii) inoperative though it did not look like it;

(iii) not only operative but also looked like it;
and

(iv) operative though it did not look like it.

Thus spoke the Lord.

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


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