Anguttara Nikaya


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Aŋguttara Nikāya
4. Catukka Nipāta
VII. Pattakamma Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
The Book of the Fours Chapter VII: Deeds of Merit

Sutta 68

Devadatta Suttaɱ

Devadatta

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

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[1] THUS have I heard:

On a certain occasion the Exalted One was staying near Rājagaha, on the hill Vultures' Peak,
not long after Devadatta had left (the Order).[1]

Then the Exalted One addressed the monks thus concerning Devadatta:[2]

There seems to me to be a problem here with Woodward's translation of 'parābhavāya'. The plantain, bamboo, reed and mule are said to 'attavadhāya' 'destruction of self' and 'parābhavāya' Woodward's 'destruction of others'. That Devadatta brought about problems for others is obvious, but not so obvious is the harm done to others by these other things. PED just has 'destruction.' 'Others' is not found in the word or outside it. Bhk. Bodhi has 'to his own ruin and destruction' which looks to be the better translation. Maybe 'to hiw own ruin and general (para) destruction. The problem here is holding on to 'atta' as 'self'. (little joke).

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

"To the ruin of self, monks,
did (love of) gains, favours and flattery
come upon Devadatta;
to the misfortune of others, monks,
did (love of) gains, favours and flattery
come upon Devadatta.

Just as, monks, the plantain gives fruit
to the ruin of self,
gives fruit
to the misfortune of others, so,
did love of gains, favours and flattery
to the ruin of self,
come upon Devadatta;
to the misfortune of others, monks,
did love of gains, favours and flattery
come upon Devadatta.

Just as, monks, a bamboo gives fruit
to the ruin of self,
gives fruit
to the misfortune of others, so,
did love of gains, favours and flattery
to the ruin of self,
come upon Devadatta;
to the misfortune of others, monks,
did love of gains, favours and flattery
come upon Devadatta.

Just as, monks, a reed gives fruit
to the ruin of self,
gives fruit
to the misfortune of others, so,
did love of gains, favours and flattery
to the ruin of self,
come upon Devadatta;
to the misfortune of others, monks,
did love of gains, favours and flattery
come upon Devadatta.

Just as a mule conceives
to her own ruin,
to the misfortune of others, even so, monks,
did love of gains, favours and flattery
to the ruin of self,
come upon Devadatta;
to the misfortune of others, monks,
did love of gains, favours and flattery
come upon Devadatta.

Truly its fruit the plantain doth destroy,
Their fruit destroys the bamboo and the rush;
So homage doth destroy the fool,
Just as its embryo the mule.'

 


[1] Cf. Vin. Texts, iii, 256.

[2] Cf. K.S. i, 192; ii, 163; Milinda, trans. i, 236; Dhp. v. 164; Netti, 130; VM. ii, 633; Thomas, Life of Buddha, 132.


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