Anguttara Nikaya

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Aŋguttara Nikāya
4. Catukka Nipāta
IV. Cakka Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
The Book of the Fours
IV: The Wheel

Sutta 33

Sīha Suttaɱ

The Lion[1]

Translated from the Pali by F. L. Woodward, M.A.

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[33] [36]

[1][bodh] Thus have I heard:

On a certain occasion the Exalted One addressed the monks, saying:


'Yes, lord,' replied those monks to the Exalted One.

The Exalted One said:

'Monks, the lion, king of beasts,
at eventide comes forth from his lair.

Having come forth from his lair
he stretches himself.

Having stretched himself
he surveys the four quarters in all directions.

Having surveyed the four quarters in all directions
he utters thrice his lion's roar.

Thrice having uttered his lion's roar
he sallies forth in search of prey.

Now, monks, whatsoever brute creatures[2]
hear the sound of the roaring of the lion,
king of beasts,
for the most part
they are afraid:
they fall to quaking and trembling.

Those that dwell in holes seek them:
water-dwellers make for the [37] water:
forest-dwellers enter the forest:
birds mount into the air.

Then, monks, whatsoever rajah's elephants
in village,
or rajah's residence
are tethered with stout leathern bonds,
such burst and rend those bonds asunder,
void their excrements
and in panic
run to and fro.

Thus potent, monks, is the lion,
king of beasts,
over brute creatures:
of such mighty power and majesty is he.

Just so, monks, when a Tathāgata arises in the world,
an Arahant,
a Perfectly Enlightened One,
perfect in lore and conduct,
a world-knower,
the trainer unsurpassed
of men who can be trained,
teacher of devas and mankind,
a Buddha,
an Exalted One, -
he teaches Dhamma:

"Such is the person-pack:
such the origin of the person-pack:
such is the ending of the person-pack:
such is the practice going to end the person-pack."[3]

Then, monks, whatsoever devas there be,
and become happy,
for a long time established in lofty palaces,[4] -
they too,
on hearing the Dhamma-teaching of the Tathāgata,
for the most part[5] are afraid:
they fall to quaking and trembling,

"It seems, sirs,
that we who thought ourselves permanent
are after all impermanent:
that we who thought ourselves stable
are after all unstable:
not to last, sirs, it seems are we:
and lasting we thought ourselves.

So it seems, sirs,
that we are impermanent,
not to last,
compassed about with a person-pack.

Thus potent, monks, is a Tathāgata
over the world of devas and mankind:
of such mighty power and majesty is he.

[38] When a Buddha, fully knowing,[6]
Sets the Dhamma-wheel a-rolling-
Teacher he without a rival
Of the devas and the world-
Teaching that the framework[7] ceases
And the framework comes to be,
And the Ariyan Eightfold Way
That leads to calming of all Ill, -
Devas, they who live for ages,
Beauteous, of great renown,
Like the beasts before the lion,
Fall a-trembling, are afraid;
For they have not done with framework.[8]
"Transient, friends," say they, "are we,"
Whenas they hear the Arahant's words,
Of such an one who well is freed.'


[1] At S. iii, 84 = K.S. iii, 70 (a Sāvatthī discourse).

[2] Tiracchāna-gatā pāṇā, those which go horizontally, not erect.

Ka as in k-kha, ka-ka. A heap of it, ya = whatever.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

[3] Sak-kāya, i.e. the pack or group or cluster (kāya is prob. derived from ci, to heap up. Pali Dict.) of oneself. Cf. nikāya, etc. Cf. K.S. iii, 134 ff. At the Sīha-sutta of S. iii, it is rūpā, vedanā, etc., that are mentioned.

[4] Uccesu vimānesu (? auras). Cf. G.S. i, 164, where the B. claims the power to get 'high seats, the deva-seat and the Ariyan seat.'

"... having destroyed the āsavas" ? Those would be Arahants and not devas. Even followers up to a certain point would tremble even if they understood that the individuality was temporary. Most human beings know that they are going to die, but it only reaches home when the Doctor tells them it's about to happen.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

[5] Comy. remarks: 'Whom does he except? Devas who are Ariyan followers. These are not afraid because of their having destroyed the āsavas. ...' It may refer to those who had been followers on earth.

[6] Abhiññāya = jānitvā. Comy.

[7] Sakkāya. Cf. supra, n.

[8] Avītivattā sakkāyaɱ.

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