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 35

Vassakara Suttaɱ

Vassakāra[1]

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

Copyright The Pali Text Society
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[35] [40]

[1][than][bodh] Thus have I heard:

On a certain occasion the Exalted One was staying near Rājagaha,
in Bamboo Grove at the Squirrels' Feeding-ground.

Now on that occasion Vassakāra the brahmin,
a great official of Magadha,
came to visit the Exalted One,
and on coming to him
greeted him courteously,
and after the exchange of greetings and courtesies
sat down at one side.

As he sat thus
Vassakāra the brahmin said this
to the Exalted One:

'Master Gotama, we brahmins proclaim a man,
if he possesses four qualities,
as one of great wisdom,
as a great man.

What are the four qualities?

Herein, master Gotama, he is learned.

Of whatsoever he hears
he understands the meaning
as soon as it is uttered,
saying:

"This is the meaning of that saying.

This is the meaning of that saying."

Moreover, he has a good memory,
he can remember and recall a thing
done long ago,
said long ago.

Again, in all the business of a householder
he is skilled and diligent,
and therein he is resourceful
and capable of investigating
what is proper to be done,
what should be arranged.

Now, master Gotama,
if a man possess these qualities,
we proclaim him as one of great wisdom,
as a great man.

If the worthy Gotama thinks me
worthy of commenda- [41] tion herein,
let him commend me.

On the contrary,
if he thinks me blameworthy,
let him blame me therefor.'

'Well, brahmin, I neither commend you
nor blame you herein.

I myself proclaim a man
possessed of four qualities
to be one of great wisdom,
to be a great man.

What are the four?

Herein, brahmin, we have a man
given up to the welfare of many folk,
to the happiness of many folk.

By him are many folk
established in the Ariyan Method,[2] to wit:
in what is of a lovely nature,
in what is of a profitable nature

To whatsoever train of thought[3]
he wishes to apply himself,
to that train of thought
he applies himself:
to whatever train of thought
he desires not to apply himself,
to that train of thought
he applies not himself.

Whatever intention[4]
he wishes to apply himself,
to that intention
he applies himself:
to whatever intention
he desires not to apply himself,
to that intention
he applies not himself.

Thus is he master of the mind[5]
in the ways of thought.

Also he is one who attains at will,[6]
without difficulty
and without trouble
the four musings
which belong to the higher thought,[7]
which even in this very life
are blissful to abide in.

Also
by destruction of the āsavas,
in this very life
thoroughly comprehending it of himself,
he realizes the heart's release,
the release by wisdom,
and attaining it
abides therein.

No, brahmin,
I neither commend nor blame you herein,
but I myself proclaim a man
possessed of these four qualities
to be one of great wisdom,
to be a great man.'

'It is wonderful, master Gotama!

It is marvellous, master Gotama,
bow well this has been said
by the worthy Gotama!

I myself do hold the worthy Gotama
to be possessed of these same four qualities.

Indeed, the worthy Gotama
is given up to the welfare of many folk,
to the happiness of many folk.

By him are [42] many folk
established in the Ariyan Method,
to wit:
in what is of a lovely nature,
in what is of a profitable nature.

Indeed, the worthy Gotama,
to whatever train of thought
he wishes to apply himself,
to that train of thought
he applies himself:
to whatever train of thought
he desires not to apply himself,
to that train of thought
he applies not himself.

Indeed, the worthy Gotama,
to whatever intention
he wishes to apply himself,
to that intention
he applies himself:
to whatever intention
he desires not to apply himself,
to that intention
he applies not himself.

Surely the worthy Gotama
is master of the mind
in the ways of thought.

Surely the worthy Gotama
is one who attains at will
without difficulty
and without trouble
the four musings
which belong to the higher thought,
which even in this very life
are blissful to abide in.

Surely the worthy Gotama by destruction of the āsavas
in this very life
thoroughly comprehending it of himself,
he realizes the heart's release,
the release by wisdom,
and attaining it
abides therein.'

'Indeed, brahmin, your words come close
and challenge me to a statement.[8]

Nevertheless I will satisfy you by replying.

I am indeed given up to the welfare of many folk,
to the happiness of many folk.

By me are many folk established in the Ariyan Method,
to wit:
in what is of a lovely nature,
in what is of a profitable nature.

Indeed, to whatever train of thought
I desire to apply myself,
to that train of thought
I apply myself:
to whatever train of thought
I desire not to apply myself,
to that train of thought
I apply not myself.

Indeed, to whatever intention
I desire to apply myself,
to that intention
I apply myself:
to whatever intention
I desire not to apply myself,
to that intention
I apply not myself.

Indeed, brahmin,
I am master of the mind
in the ways of thought.

Indeed, brahmin, I am one who attains at will
without difficulty
and without trouble
the four musings
which belong to the higher thought,
which even in this very life
are blissful to abide in.

Indeed, brahmin, by destruction of the āsavas
in this very life
thoroughly comprehending it of myself,
I realize the heart's release,
the release by wisdom,
and attaining it
abide therein.

He who for all things found release from Death,
Who showed their weal to devas and mankind,
Who taught the Method, Dhamma,[9] seeing which
And hearing which full many folk are calmed;
Skilled (guide) of what is right way and what wrong,[10] Task-ended he, who hath no āsavas,
Enlightened One who weareth his last body, -
He "great in wisdom" and "great man" is called.'

 


[1] 'Rain-maker.' Cf. infra, text 172; D. ii, 72, 87; M. iii, 8.

[2] Ñāya. Cf. S. ii, 68, etc.

[3] Vitakka.

[4] Sankappa. For the many attempts to translate this word see the table at Sakya, p. 85 (Mrs. Rhys Davids).

[5] Ceto-vasippatto. Cf. supra, text 6.

[6] Nikāma-lāabhī (MA. attano iccha-vasena. Pali Dict. 'giving pleasure' [?]), M. i, 33, 354; S. v, 316; K.S. v, 280.

[7] Abhicetasikānaɱ (MA. = visuddha-citta). Our Comy. has nothing to say here of this fairly frequent phrase or at S. v.

[8] Āsajja upaṇīya-vācā bhāsiiā. As at A. i, 172 = 156 where see n.

[9] Cf. D. ii, 151, ñāyassa dhammassa padesa-vattī', M. ii, 181, ñāyaɱ dhammaɱ kusaiaɱ = saka-vipassanakaɱ maggaɱ. Comy.

[10] I read with Sinh. text kusalo katakicco anāsavo (our text applies these epithets to ñāyaɱ). Cf. Sn. 627 (of the brahmin), maggāmaggassa kovidaɱ.


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