Anguttara Nikaya


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Aŋguttaranikāyo
Catukkanipāto
XX: Mahā Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
The Book of the Fours
Chapter XX: The Great Chapter

Sutta 191

Sotānudhata Suttaṃ

Heard with the Ear

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 Sāvatthī.

Then the Exalted One addressed the monks, saying:

'Monks.'

'Yes, lord,' they replied, and the Exalted One said:

'Monks, four advantages are to be looked for
from the frequent verbal practice
of teachings heard with the ear,[1]
from considering them in the mind,
from thoroughly penetrating them by view.

What are the four?

Herein a monk masters Dhamma, to wit:

Sutta, Geyya, Veyyākarana, Gāthā, Udāna, Itivuttaka, Jātaka, Abbhu-tadhamma and Vedalla.[2]

Those teachings heard with the ear,
often practised verbally,
considered by the mind,
are thoroughly penetrated by view.

He making an end
with [194] memory confused
is reborn in a certain company of devas.

There the happy ones
recite to him Dhamma-verses.[3]

Slow to arise in him, monks,
is memory,
but that being very quickly reaches excellencc.

This is the first advantage to be looked for
from the frequent verbal practice
of teachings heard with the ear,
from considering them by the mind,
from thoroughly penetrating them by view.

 

§

 

Then again, a monk masters Dhamma, to wit:

Sutta, Geyya, Veyyākarana, Gāthā, Udāna, Itivuttaka, Jātaka, Abbhu-tadhamma and Vedalla.

Those teachings heard with the ear,
often practised verbally,
considered by the mind,
are thoroughly penetrated by view.

He making an end
with memory confused
is reborn in a certain company of devas.

There indeed the happy ones
recite not to him Dhamma-verses,
but maybe some monk who has more-power,
one who has won mastery of mind,[4]
is teaching Dhamma to a company of devas.

Then it occurs to him:

Why, this is just[5] the Dhamma-discipline
according to which
formerly I practised the God-life!

Slow to arise, monks, in him
is memory,
but that being very quickly reaches excellence.[6]

It is just as if a man
skilled in the sound of drums,
while going along the highroad,[7]
should hear the sound of a drum.

He would have no doubt or uncertainty
as to whether it was the sound of a drum or not,
but would just conclude that it was so.

In the same way, monks,
a monk masters Dhamma,
to wit:

Sutta, Geyya, Veyyākarana, Gāthā, Udāna, Itivuttaka, Jātaka, Abbhu-tadhamma and Vedalla.

Those teachings heard with the ear,
often practised verbally,
considered by the mind,
are thoroughly penetrated by view.

He making an end
with memory confused
is reborn in a certain company of devas.

There indeed the happy ones
recite not to him Dhamma-verses,
but maybe some monk who has more-power,
one who has won mastery of mind,
is teaching Dhamma to a company of devas.

Then it occurs to him:

Why, this is just the Dhamma-discipline
according to which
formerly I practised the God-life!

Slow to arise, monks, in him
is memory,
but that being very quickly reaches excellence.

This is the second advantage to be looked for
from the frequent verbal practice
of teachings heard with the ear,
from considering them by the mind,
from thoroughly penetrating them by view.

 

§

 

Then again, monks,
a monk masters Dhamma,
to wit:

Sutta, Geyya, Veyyākarana, Gāthā, Udāna, Itivuttaka, Jātaka, Abbhu-tadhamma and Vedalla.

He making an end
with memory confused
is reborn in a certain company of devas.

There indeed the happy ones
recite not to him Dhamma-verses,
nor does some monk who has more-power,
one who has won mastery of [195] mind,
teach Dhamma to a company of devas;
but maybe some one deva[8] is teaching Dhamma
to a company of devas.

Then it occurs to him:

Why, this is just the Dhamma-discipline
according to which
formerly I practised the God-life!

Slow to arise in him, monks,
is memory,
but that being very quickly reaches excellence.

It is just as if a man skilled in the sound of conches,
while going along the highroad,
should hear the sound of a conch.

He would have no doubt or uncertainty
as to whether it was the sound of a conch or not,
but would just conclude that it was so.

In the same way, monks,
a monk masters Dhamma,
to wit:

Sutta, Geyya, Veyyākarana, Gāthā, Udāna, Itivuttaka, Jātaka, Abbhu-tadhamma and Vedalla.

He making an end
with memory confused
is reborn in a certain company of devas.

There indeed the happy ones
recite not to him Dhamma-verses,
nor does some monk who has more-power,
one who has won mastery of mind,
teach Dhamma to a company of devas;
but maybe some one deva is teaching Dhamma
to a company of devas.

This is the third advantage to be looked for
from the frequent verbal practice
of teachings heard with the ear,
from considering them by the mind,
from thoroughly penetrating them by view.

 

§

 

Yet again, monks, a monk masters Dhamma,
to wit:

Sutta, Geyya, Veyyākarana, Gāthā, Udāna, Itivuttaka, Jātaka, Abbhu-tadhamma and Vedalla.

He making an end
with memory confused
is reborn in a certain company of devas.

There indeed the happy ones
recite not to him Dhamma-verses,
nor does some monk who has more-power,
one who has won mastery of mind,
teach Dhamma to a company of devas;
nore does some one deva teach Dhamma
to a company of devas
but maybe someone apparitionally reborn (there)[9]
is reviving the memory
of some other one apparitionally reborn.

(He says)

"Do you remember, good sir?

Do you remember, good sir,[10] how formerly we used to practise the God-life?"

Then the other says:

"I do indeed remember, good sir!

I do indeed remember!"

Slow to arise, monks, in him is memory,
but that being very quickly reaches excellence.

[196] It is just as if two playmates[11] who used to play at mud-pies together were to meet some time or other.

Then one of them says to the other:

"Say, old man,[12] do you remember this?

Do you remember that?"

And the other replies:

"I do indeed remember, old man!

I do indeed remember!"

Just in the same way, monks,
a monk masters Dhamma,
to wit:

Sutta, Geyya, Veyyākarana, Gāthā, Udāna, Itivuttaka, Jātaka, Abbhu-tadhamma and Vedalla.

He making an end
with memory confused
is reborn in a certain company of devas.

There indeed the happy ones
recite not to him Dhamma-verses,
nor does some monk who has more-power,
one who has won mastery of mind,
teach Dhamma to a company of devas;
nore does some one deva teach Dhamma
to a company of devas
but maybe someone apparitionally reborn (there)
is reviving the memory
of some other one apparitionally reborn.

(He says)

"Do you remember, good sir?

Do you remember, good sir,
how formerly we used to practise the God-life?"

Then the other says:

"I do indeed remember, good sir!

I do indeed remember!"

Slow to arise, monks, in him is memory,
but that being very quickly reaches excellence.

This, monks, is the fourth advantage to be looked for
from the frequent verbal practice
of teachings heard with the ear,
from considering them by the mind,
from thoroughly penetrating them by view.

So, monks, these are the four advantages to be looked for
from the frequent verbal practice
of teachings heard with the ear,
from considering them by the mind,
from thoroughly penetrating them by view.

 


[1] Sotānugatānaṃ. Sinh. text of Comy. reads -dhatānaṃ (?)

[2] See above, Ī 186 n. 4

[3] Text dhamma-padāni pi lapanti; Sinh. text -padāpi lapanti, but Comy. -padāpilapanti and apilapanti (? for apilāpenti).

[4] Ceto-vasippatto. Cf. supra, Ī 36.

[5] Here text has vāso (?). It is either vā so or more probably va for eva. Comy. ettha vibhavan'attho vā saddo.

[6] Cf. K.S. iv, 123.

[7] Cf. DA. i, 223.

[8] Comy. instances Pañcūlacaṇḍa (= Kunāla = Bodhisattva; cf. JA. v, 425), Hatthaka Mahābrahmā, Sanaṃ-kumāra Brahmā, (cf. Dial. i, 121, ii, 244, 292), the Virgin Youth who appears as 'Five-pointed Crest,' one of the five mind-born sons of Brahmā.

[9] Opapātiko opapātikaṃ sāreti. The word means 'one who just appears' in another plane of being, without anything corresponding to our physical rebirth. Here Comy. takes it to mean 'a deva-putta who had previously so become reminds a new-comer.'

[10] Mārisa, a term used by devas: cf. K.S. iv, 133, 186 n.

[11] Here sahāyaka is not quite the same as sahāya. The simile illustrates its use. Sahāyako sahāyakam eva (just below) has the significance of 'crony to crony.' Cf. the last words of the Buddha in addressing the monks.

[12] Samma.


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