Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
III. Upari Paṇṇāsa
3. Suññata Vagga

Sutta 125

Danta-Bhūmi Suttaɱ

The Grade of the Tamed

Adapted from the I.B. Horner translation
with certain terms newly translated from the Pali
by
Venerable Mahathera Madawela Punnaji

© Madawela Punnaji
Used with permission.

 


 

[1][chlm][pts][upal] Thus have I heard:

Once the Blessed One was sojourning at Rajagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrels' Sanctuary.

2. On that occasion the novice Aciravata was living in a forest hut.

Then Prince Jayasena, while wandering and walking for exercise, went to the novice Aciravata and exchanged greetings with him.

When his courteous and amiable talk was finished, he sat down at one side and said to the novice Aciravata:

"Master Aggivessana, I have heard that a bhikkhu who abides here diligent, ardent, and resolute can achieve unification of mind."

"That is so, prince, that is so.

A bhikkhu who abides here diligent, ardent, and resolute can achieve unification of mind."

3. "It will be good if Master Aggivessana would teach me the Dhamma as he has heard it and mastered it."

"I cannot teach you the Dhamma, prince, as I have heard it and mastered it.

For if I were to teach you the Dhamma as I have heard it and mastered it, you would not understand the meaning of my words, and that would be wearying and troublesome for me."

4. "Let Master Aggivessana teach me the Dhamma as you have heard it and mastered it.

Perhaps I can understand the meaning of your words."

"If so, I shall teach you the Dhamma, prince, as I have heard it and mastered it.

If you can understand the meaning of my words, that will be so good.

But if you cannot understand the meaning, then leave it at that, and do not question me about it further.'

"Let Master Aggivessana teach me the Dhamma, as you have heard it and mastered it.

If I can understand the meaning of your words, that will be so good.

If I cannot understand the meaning, then I will leave it at that, and I will not question you about it any further."

5. Then the novice Aciravata taught Prince Jayasena the Dhamma as he had heard it and mastered it.

After he had spoken, Prince Jayasena remarked:

"It is impossible, Master Aggivessana, it cannot happen that a bhikkhu who abides diligent, ardent, and resolute can achieve unification of mind."

Then, having declared to the novice Aciravata that this was impossible and could not happen, Prince Jayasena rose from his seat and departed.

6. Soon after Prince Jayasena had left, the novice Aciravata went to the Blessed One.

After paying homage to the Blessed One, he sat down at one side and reported to the Blessed One his entire conversation with Prince Jayasena.

When he had finished, the Blessed One said to him:

7. "Aggivessana, how is it possible that Prince Jayasena, living in the midst of sensual pleasures, enjoying sensual pleasures, being devoured by thoughts of sensual pleasures, being consumed by the fever of sensual pleasures, bent on the search for sensual pleasures, could know, see, or realise that which must be known through renunciation, seen through renunciation, attained through renunciation, realised through renunciation?

That is impposible.

8. "Suppose, Aggivessana, there were two tamable elephants, horses or oxen that were well tamed and well disciplined, and two tamable elephants, horses, and oxen that were untamed and undisciplined.

What do you think, Aggivessana?

Would the two tamable elephants, horses, and oxen that were well tamed and well disciplined, being tamed, acquire the behaviour of the tamed, would they arrive at the grade of that tamed?"

"Yes, venerable sir."

"But would the two tamable elephants, horses, and oxen that were untamed and undisciplined, being untamed, acquire the behaviour of the tamed, would they arrive at the grade of that tamed, like the two tamable elephants, horses, and oxen that were well tamed and well disciplined?"

"No, venerable sir."

"So too, Aggivessana, it is impossible that Prince Jayasena, living in the midst of sensual pleasures, … could know, see, or realise that which must be known through renunciation, seen through renunciation, attained through renunciation, realized through renunciation."

9. "Suppose, Aggivessana, there were a high mountain not far from the village or town, and two friends would leave the village or town and approach the mountain hand in hand.

Having reached it, one friend would remain below at the foot of the mountain while the other would climb to the top.

Then the friend who remained below at the foot of the mountain would say to the friend who stood at the top:

'Well friend, what do you see, standing on the top of the mountain?'

And the other replied:

'Standing on the top of the mountain, friend, I see lovely parks, lovely groves, lovely meadows, and lovely ponds.'

Then the friend who remained below would say:

'It is impossible, friend, it cannot happen that while standing on top of the mountain you should see lovely parks, lovely groves, lovely meadows, and lovely ponds.'

Then the friend who climbed the top would come down to the foot of the mountain, take his friend by the arm, and make him climb to the top of the mountain.

After giving him a few moments to catch his breath, he would ask:

'Well, friend, now standing on top of the mountain, what do you see?'

And his friend would reply:

'Standing on top of the mountain, friend, I see lovely parks, lovely groves, lovely meadows, and lovely ponds.'

Then the other would say:

'Friend, just a little earlier we heard you say:

"It is impossible, friend, it cannot happen that while standing on top of the mountain you should see lovely parks…lovely ponds."

But just now we heard you say:

"Standing on the top of the mountain, friend, I see lovely parks…lovely ponds."'

Then the other friend would reply:

'Because I was obstructed by these high mountain, friend, I did not see what was there to be seen.'"

10. "So too, Aggivessana, Prince Jayasena is obstructed, hindered, blocked, and enveloped by a still greater mass than this mass of ignorance.

Thus, it is impossible that Prince Jayasena, living in the midst of sensual pleasures, … could know, see, or realise that which must be known through renunciation, seen through renunciation, attained through renunciation, realised through renunciation."

11. "Aggivessana, if these two similes had occurred to you [with reference] to Prince Jayasena, he would have spontaneously acquired confidence in you, and being confident, would have shown his confidence to you."

"Venerable sir, how could these two similes have occurred to me, as they occurred to the Blessed One.

They are spontaneous to the Blessed One.

I have never heard them before?"

12. "Suppose Aggivessana, a head-anointed noble King addresses his elephant woodsman thus:

'Good elephant woodsman, mount the king's elephant, enter the elephant wood, and when you see a forest elephant, bind him by the neck to the king's elephant.'

Having replied 'Yes, Sire,' the elephant woodsman mounts the king's elephant, enters the elephant wood, and when he sees a forest elephant, binds him by the neck to the king's elephant.

The king's elephant leads him out to the open.

It is in this way that a forest elephant comes out into the open; for the forest elephant clings to the elephant wood."

"Then the elephant woodsman informs the head-anointed noble king:

'Sire, the forest elephant has come out into the open.'

The king addresses his elephant tamer thus:

'Come, good elephant tamer, tame the forest elephant.

Subdue his forest habits, subdue his forest memories and intentions, subdue his distress, fatigue, and fever over leaving the forest.

Get him to take delight in the town, inculcate in him habits congenial to human beings.'

Having replied 'Yes, Sire,' the elephant tamer plants the large post in the earth and binds the forest elephant to it by the neck in order to subdue his forest habits … and to inculcate in him habits congenial to human beings."

"Then the elephant tamer addresses the elephant with words that are gentle, pleasing to the ear, and lovable, as go to the heart, are courteous, desired by many, and agreeable to many.

When the forest elephant is addressed by such words, he listens, gives ear, and exerts his mind to understand.

The elephant tamer next rewards him with grass-fodder and water.

When the forest elephant accepts the grass-fodder and water from him, the elephant tamer knows: 'Now the king's elephant will live!'"

"Then the elephant tamer trains him further thus:

'Take up, put down!'

When the king's elephant obeys his tamers orders to take up and put down and carries out his instructions, the elephant tamer trains him further thus:

'Go forward, go back!'

When the king's elephant obeys his tamer's orders to go forward and go back and carries out his instructions, the elephant tamer trains him further thus:

'Get up, sit down!'

When the king's elephant obeys his tamers orders to get up and sit down and carries out his instructions, the elephant tamer trains him further in the task called imperturbability.

He ties a giant plank to his trunk; a man with a lance in his hand sits on his neck; men with lances in their hands surround him on all sides; and the elephant tamer himself stands in front of him holding a long lance pole.

When the elephant is being trained in the task of imperturbability, he does not move his forelegs or his hindlegs; he does not move his forequarters or his hindquarters; he does not move his head, ears, tusks, tail or trunk.

The king's elephant is able to endure blows from spears, blows from swords, blows from arrows, blows from other beings, and the thundering sounds of drums, kettledrums, trumpets, and tomtoms.

Being rid of all faults and defects, purged of flaws, he is worthy of the king, in the king's service, considered one of the properties of a king.

13-14. "So too, Aggivessana, a Tathagata appears in the world, accomplished, fully enlightened (as sutta 51, SS12-13) … he shaves of his hair and beard, puts on the yellow robe, and goes forth from the home life into homelessness.

It is in this way that a noble disciple comes out to the open; for gods and humans cling to the five cords of sensual pleasure." ….

26-29. "When his mind is thus purified…(as Sutta 51, ss24- 27)…. He understands:

'Birth is destroyed, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more coming to any state of being.'

30. "That bhikkhu is able to endure cold and heat, hunger and thirst, and contact with gadflies, mosquitoes, wind, the sun, and creeping things; he is able to endure ill-spoken, unwelcome words and arisen bodily feelings that are painful, racking, sharp, piercing, disagreeable, distressing, and menacing to life.

Being rid of all lust, hate, and delusion, purged of flaws, he is worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of reverential salutations, an unsurpassed field of merit for the world.

31. "If Aggivessana, the king's elephant dies in old age untamed and undisciplined, then he is considered an old elephant that has died an untamed death.

If the king's elephant dies when middle-aged untamed and undisciplined, then he is considered a middle-aged elephant that has died an untamed death.

If the king's elephant dies when young untamed and undisciplined, then he is considered a young elephant that has died an untamed death.

So too, Aggivessana, if an elder bhikkhu dies with his taints undestroyed, then he is considered an elder bhikkhu who has dies an untamed death.

If a bhikkhu of middle status dies with his taints undestroyed, then he is considered of middle status who has dies an untamed death.

If a newly ordained bhikkhu dies with his taints undestroyed, then he is considered a newly ordained bhikkhu who had an untamed death."

32. "If Aggivessana, the king's elephant dies in old age well tamed and well disciplined, then he is considered an old elephant that had a tamed death.

If the king's elephant dies when middle-aged well tamed and well disciplined, then he is considered a middle-aged elephant that had a tamed death.

If the king's elephant dies when young well tamed and well disciplined, then he is considered a young elephant that had a tamed death.

So too, Aggivessana, if an elder bhikkhu dies with his taints destroyed, then he is considered an elder bhikkhu who had a tamed death.

If a bhikkhu of middle status dies with his taints destroyed, then he is considered of middle status who had a tamed death.

If a newly ordained bhikkhu dies with his taints destroyed, then he is considered a newly ordained bhikkhu who had a tamed death."

That is what the Blessed One said.

The novice Aciravata was satisfied and delighted in the Blessed One's words.


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