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Aŋguttaranikāyo
Catukkanipāto
XIX: Yodhajīva Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
The Book of the Fours
Chapter XIX: Fignthing Man

Sutta 187

Dutiya Vassakāra Suttaṃ

Vassakāra

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 near Rājagaha in Bamboo Grove, at the Squirrels' Feeding-ground.

Then the brahmin Vassakāra,[1]
a great official of Magadha,
came to visit the Exalted One,
and on coming to him greeted him courteously.

Having greeted him courteously
he took a seek to one side.

As he sat at one side
the [187] brahmin Vassakāra,,
a great official of Magadha
said this to the Exalted One:

'Pray, master Gotama,
could a bad man
recognize a bad man
(so as to say):

"This worthy is a bad man"?'

'It is out of place, brahmin;
it is an impossibility
for a bad man
to recognize a bad man
(so as to say):

"This worthy is a bad man"'

'Then pray, master Gotama,
could a bad man
recognize a good man
(so as to say):

"This worthy is a good man"?'

'It is out of place, brahmin;
it is an impossibility
for a bad man
to recognize a good man
(so as to say):

"This worthy is a good man"?'

'Then could a good man
recognize a good man
(so as to say):

"This worthy is a good man"?'

'That, brahmin, is a likely thing.

It is possible for a good man
to recognize a good man
(so as to say):

"This worthy is a good man"'

'Again, master Gotama,
could a good man
recognize a bad man
(so as to say):

"This worthy is a bad man"?'

'That again, brahmin, is a likely thing.

It is possible for a good man
to recognize a bad man
(so as to say):

"This worthy is a bad man."'[2]

'Wonderful, master Gotama!

It is marvellous, master Gotama,
how well said is this
by the worshipful Gotama, thus:

'It is out of place, brahmin;
it is an impossibility
for a bad
man to recognize a bad man
(so as to say):

"This worthy is a bad man"'

'It is out of place, brahmin;
it is an impossibility
for a bad man
to recognize a good man
(so as to say):

"This worthy is a good man"?'

'That, brahmin, is a likely thing,
it is possible
for a good man
recognize a good man
(so as to say):

"This worthy is a good man"'

'That, brahmin, is a likely thing,
it is possible
for a good man
to recognize a bad man
(so as to say):

"This worthy is a bad man."

 


 

Now, master Gotama,
on a certain occasion
the company of the brāhmin Todeyya[3]
were talking abusively, thus:

"A fool is the rājah Eḷeyya
to be pleased with Rāma's son, the recluse.

Why! he even went so far
as to show the greatest humility before him,
such as saluting him,
rising up in his presence,
putting his hands together
and doing homage to him.

Moreover the retinue of the rājah Eḷeyya,
[188] such as Yamaka, Moggalla, Ugga, Nāvindaki, Gandhabba and Aggivessa,[4]
are fools to be pleased with Rama's son, the recluse.

They too went so far
as to show the greatest humility before him,
such as saluting him,
rising up in his presence,
putting his hands together
and doing homage to him."'

'Well, brahmin, you see[5]
that's just how the brāhmin Todeyya
leads them by the nose.[6]

Now what think those worthies:

"A wise man is the rājah Eḷeyya.

Among those superior in insight[7]
in deciding matters of dispute
and in the interpretation of terms
he is superior," -

Do they think that?'

'They do, sir.

They think:

"A wise man is the rājah Eḷeyya.

Among those superior in insight
in deciding matters of dispute
and in the interpretation of terms
he is superior."

And it is just because the recluse, Rāma's son,
is wiser than the wise rājah Eḷeyya
and superior to him in insight
in deciding matters of dispute
and in the interpretation of terms
in a still higher degree, -
it is for this reason
that the rajah Eḷeyya
is pleased with him
and shows the greatest humility before him,
such as saluting him,
rising up in his presence,
putting his hands together
and doing homage to him."'

'Now what think those worthies:

"Wise is the retinue of the rajah Eḷeyya; namely, Yamaka, Moggalla, Ugga, Nāvindaki, Gandhabba and Aggivessa.

Among those superior in insight
in deciding matters of dispute
and in the interpretation of terms
they are superior."

Do they think that?'

'They do, sir.

They think:

"Wise is the retinue of the rajah Eḷeyya; namely,
Yamaka, Moggalla, Ugga, Nāvindaki, Gandhabba and Aggivessa.

Among those superior in insight
in deciding matters of dispute
and in the interpretation of terms
they are superior."

And it is just because the recluse, Rāma's son,
is wiser than the wise retinue of the rājah Eḷeyya
and superior to them in insight
in deciding matters of dispute
and in the interpretation of terms
in a still higher degree, -
it is for this reason
thatthe retinue of the rājah Eḷeyya
are highly pleased with the recluse, Rāma's son, and (in their turn)
show the greatest humility before him,
such as saluting him,
rising up in his presence,
putting their hands together
and doing homage to him."

It is wonderful, master Gotama!

It is marvellous
how well said was this by the worshipful Gotama, thus:

'It is out of place, brahmin;
it is an impossibility
for a bad man
[189] to recognize a bad man
(so as to say):

"This worthy is a bad man"'

'It is out of place, brahmin;
it is an impossibility
for a bad man
to recognize a good man
(so as to say):

"This worthy is a good man"?'

'That, brahmin, is a likely thing,
it is possible
for a good man
recognize a good man
(so as to say):

"This worthy is a good man"'

'That, brahmin, is a likely thing,
it is possible
for a good man
to recognize a bad man
(so as to say):

"This worthy is a bad man."

Well, master Gotama, I must be going.

I am a busy man and have much to do.'

'Do as you think proper, brahmin.'

So the brahmin Vassakāra,,
the great official of Magadha,
being pleased with the words of the Exalted One,
thanked him,
rose from his seat
and went away.

 


[1] Cf. supra, Ī 183.

[2] The four points are tersely stated in the couplet ascribed to Vappa, one of the first disciples (Pss. Brethren, ver. 61). If we take the acts of Eḷeyya as in the 'historic present,' and referring to a bygone episode - as is very possible - we have here an allusion to Uddaka Rāmaputta, one of the honoured teachers of Gotama.

[3] Comy., i.e. Tudigāma-vāsika. At S. iv, 121 he is owner of the mango-grove at Kāmaṇḍa. Cf. M. ii, 202.

[4] These names do not appear elsewhere.

[5] Tyassudaṃ = te assudaṃ (or ? Assu idaṃ). Cf. S. i, 195. Text confuses the speakers in the arrangement of this and following ĪĪ.

[6] Neti acc. to Comy. = anuneti, jānāpeti. The idea is the same as in Ī 6 ('by what is the world led along').

[7] Alam-attha-dasa.


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