Anguttara Nikaya


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Aŋguttaranikāyo
Catukkanipāto
XVIII: Sañcetana Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
The Book of the Fours
Chapter XVIII: Intentional

Sutta 180

Mahā Padesadesanā Suttaṃ

Great Authorities[1]

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

Copyright The Pali Text Society
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[1] Thus have I heard:

On a certain occasion the Exalted One was staying in Bhoganagara[2] at the Ānanda Shrine.

Then the Exalted One addressed the monks, saying:

"Monks."

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

The Exalted One said:

"Monks, I will teach you these four great authorities.

Do you listen to it.

Carefully give your minds to it and I will speak.'

The Exalted One said this:

[175] 'And what, monks, are the four great authorities?

In this case, monks, a monk might say:

'Face to face with the Exalted One, your reverence,
did I hear it;
face to face with him
did I receive it.

This is Dhamma,
this is Vinaya,
this is the Master's teaching.'

Now, monks, the words of that monk
are neither to be welcomed nor scorned,
but without welcoming,
without scorning,
the words and syllables thereof
are to be closely scrutinized,
laid beside Sutta
and compared with Vinaya.[3]

If, when thus laid beside Sutta
and compared with Vinaya,
they lie not along with Sutta
and agree not with Vinaya,
to this conclusion must ye come:

Surely this is not the word of that Exalted One,
Arahant,
the Fully Enlightened One,
and it was wrongly taken by that monk.

So reject it, monks.

Herein again a monk might say:

'Face to face with the Exalted One, your reverence,
did I hear it.

Face to face with him did I receive it.

This is Dhamma,
this is Vinaya,
this is the Master's teaching.'

Now the words of that monk
are neither to be welcomed nor scorned,
but without welcoming,
without scorning,
the words and syllables thereof
are to be closely scrutinized,
laid beside Sutta
and compared with Vinaya.

If, when thus laid beside Sutta
and compared with Vinaya,
they lie along with Sutta
and agree with Vinaya,
to this conclusion must ye come:

Surely this is the word of that Exalted One,
Arahant,
the Fully Enlightened One,
and it was rightly taken by that monk.

Then bear this in mind as the first great authority.

 

§

 

Then again a monk might say:

'In such and such a dwelling-place
resides an Order (of monks)
together with an elder monk,
a leader.

Face to face with that Order
I heard it;
face to face I received it.

This is Dhamma,
this is Vinaya,
this is the Master's teaching.'

Now the words of that monk
are neither to be welcomed nor scorned,
but without welcoming,
without scorning,
the words and syllables thereof
are to be closely scrutinized,
laid beside Sutta
and compared with Vinaya.

But if, when thus laid beside Sutta
and compared with Vinaya,
they lie not along with Sutta
and agree not with Vinaya,
to this conclusion must ye come:

Surely this is not [176] the word of that Exalted One,
Arahant,
the Fully Enlightened One,
and it was wrongly taken by that Order.

So reject it, monks.

But, on the other hand, a monk might say:

'In such and such a dwelling-place
resides an Order (of monks)
together with an elder monk,
a leader.

Face to face with that Order
I heard it;
face to face
I received it.

This is Dhamma,
this is Vinaya,
this is the Master's teaching.'

Now the words of that monk
are neither to be welcomed nor scorned,
but without welcoming,
without scorning,
the words and syllables thereof
are to be closely scrutinized,
laid beside Sutta
and compared with Vinaya.

Then, if, when thus laid beside Sutta
and compared with Vinaya,
they lie along with Sutta
and agree with Vinaya,
to this conclusion must ye come:

Surely this is the word of that Exalted One,
Arahant,
the Fully Enlightened One,
and it was rightly taken by that Order of monks.

This, monks, is the second great authority to bear in mind.

 

§

 

Yet again a monk might say:

'In such and such a dwelling-place
resides a great number of elder monks,
widely learned,[4]
versed in the doctrines,
who know Dhamma by heart,
who know Vinaya by heart,
who know the Summaries by heart.

Face to face with those elder monks,
I heard it;
face to face I received it.

This is Dhamma,
this is Vinaya,
this is the Master's teaching.'

Now the words of that monk,
are neither to be welcomed nor scorned,
but without welcoming,
without scorning,
the words and syllables thereof
are to be closely scrutinized,
laid beside Sutta
and compared with Vinaya.

But if, when thus laid beside Sutta
and compared with Vinaya,
they lie not along with Sutta
and agree not with Vinaya,
to this conclusion must ye come:

Surely this is not the word of that Exalted One,
Arahant,
the Fully Enlightened One,
and it was wrongly taken by those elder monks.

So reject it, monks.

But, on the other hand, a monk might say:

'In such and such a dwelling-place
resides a great number of elder monks,
widely learned,
versed in the doctrines,
who know Dhamma by heart,
who know Vinaya by heart,
who know the Summaries by heart.

Face to face with those elder monks,
I heard it;
face to face I received it.

This is Dhamma,
this is Vinaya,
this is the Master's teaching.'

Now the words of that monk,
are neither to be welcomed nor scorned,
but without welcoming,
without scorning,
the words and syllables thereof
are to be closely scrutinized,
laid beside Sutta
and compared with Vinaya.

Then, if, when thus laid beside Sutta
and compared with Vinaya,
they lie along with Sutta
and agree with Vinaya,
to this conclusion must ye come:

Surely this is the word of that Exalted One,
Arahant,
the Fully Enlightened One,
and it was rightly taken by those elder monks.

This, monks, is the third great authority.

 

§

 

Herein again a monk might say:

'In such and such a dwelling-place
resides a single elder monk,
of wide learning,
versed in the doctrines,
one who knows Dhamma by heart,
who knows Vinaya by heart,
who knows the Summaries by heart.

Face to face with that elder monk,
I heard it, face [177] to face I received it.

This is Dhamma,
this is Vinaya,
this is the Master's teaching.'

Now the words of that monk,
are neither to be welcomed nor scorned,
but without welcoming,
without scorning,
the words and syllables thereof
are to be closely scrutinized,
laid beside Sutta
and compared with Vinaya.

But if, when thus laid beside Sutta
and compared with Vinaya,
they lie not along with Sutta
and agree not with Vinaya,
to this conclusion must ye come:

Surely this is not the word of that Exalted One,
Arahant,
the Fully Enlightened One,
and it was wrongly taken by that elder monk.

So reject it, monks.

But, on the other hand, a monk might say:

'In such and such a dwelling-place
resides a single elder monk,
of wide learning,
versed in the doctrines,
one who knows Dhamma by heart,
who knows Vinaya by heart,
who knows the Summaries by heart.

Face to face with that elder monk,
I heard it;
face to face I received it.

This is Dhamma,
this is Vinaya,
this is the Master's teaching.'

Now the words of that monk,
are neither to be welcomed nor scorned,
but without welcoming,
without scorning,
the words and syllables thereof
are to be closely scrutinized,
laid beside Sutta
and compared with Vinaya.

Then, if, when thus laid beside Sutta
and compared with Vinaya,
they lie along with Sutta
and agree with Vinaya,
to this conclusion must ye come:

Surely this is the word of that Exalted One,
Arahant,
the Fully Enlightened One,
and it was rightly taken by that elder monk.

This, monks, is the fourth great authority.

So these, monks, are the four great authorities."

 


[1] As at D. ii, 123 = Dial. ii; in both cases Comy. takes mahāpadesa as equal to mahā-apadesa, not -padesa (topic, place), so 'authority, reason, occasion.'

[2] DA. does not notice place or shrine. Our Comy. 'a vihara built at the dwelling of the yakkha Ānanda.' The only other mention of Bh. is Sn. v. 1013 in a list of delightful spots.

[3] There were evidently only two collections (baskets or piṭakas). Comy. as at DA. ii, 566 attempts to prove that here Sutta = Suttanta-Abhidhamma-Piṭakāni. But Abhidhamma is obviously a much later collection. Had there heen any piṭakas at the time of the composition of this sutta the word would surely have been used in it.

[4] Cf. supra, text 147.


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