Anguttara Nikaya


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Aŋguttaranikāyo
Catukkanipāto

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
The Book of the Fours

Sutta 195
Vappa Sutta

Vappa[1]

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 among the Sakyans at Kapilavatthu, in Banyan Park.

At that time Vappa the Sakyan,
a disciple of the Unclothed,[2] went to visit Moggallāna the Great,
and on coming to him,
saluted the venerable Moggallāna the Great
and sat down at one side.

As he sat thus,
the venerable Moggallāna the Great was saying this
to Vappa the Sakyan,
disciple of the Unclothed:

'There may be someone here, Vappa,
restrained in body,
speech
and thought
owing to the waning of ignorance
and the arising of knowledge.

Now, Vappa, do you see any cause
owing to which the āsavas causing pain
would flow in upon[3] the man at some future time?'[4]

'Sir, I do see such a reason.

There may be in this case
a certain previously done evil deed,
whose fruit has not yet ripened.

Owing to that the āsavas causing pain might flow in upon that man at some future time.'

[208] At this juncture the conversation which the two were holding was broken off.

Then the Exalted One,
at eventide rising from his solitary meditating,
went towards the service-hall,
and on reaching it sat down on a seat made ready.

Having taken his seat the Exalted One said this to the venerable Moggallāna the Great:

'Pray, Moggallāna, on what subject are you talking as you sit here now,
and what was the talk just interrupted?'

'Lord, I was just saying to Vappa the Sakyan,
disciple of the Unclothed,

"There may be someone here, Vappa,
restrained in body, speech and thought,
owing to the waning of ignorance
and the arising of knowledge.

Now, Vappa, do you see any cause owing to which the āsavas causing pain
would flow in upon the man at some future time?"

At these words, lord, Vappa was saying to me:

"Sir, I do see such a reason.

There may be in this case a certain previously done evil deed
whose fruit has not yet ripened.

Owing to that the āsavas causing pain
might flow in upon that man at some future time."

This was the subject we were engaged upon;
then the talk was interrupted by the arrival of the Exalted One.'

Then said the Exalted One to Vappa the Sakyan,
disciple of the Unclothed:

'If you, Vappa,
would allow what you deem allowable,
and reject what you deem should be rejected,
and in case you should not understand the meaning of my words,
if you would question me still further thus:
"How is this, sir?
What is the meaning of that?"
- we might have a talk here.'

'I will indeed, lord,
allow the Exalted One what I deem allowable
and will reject what I deem should be rejected,
and in case I do not understand the Exalted One's words
I will question the Exalted One still further, thus:
"What is this, lord?
What is the meaning of that?"

So be it. Let us have a talk here.'

'Now what think you, Vappa?

As to these āsavas which come about as a result of bodily activities,[5]
in the case of one who abstains from bodily activities that cause vexation and [209] distress,
it follows that those āsavas causing pain do not exist in him.[6]

He does no fresh deed;
as to his former deed,
he wears it out by constant contact with it,[7]
by a wearing out[8]
that is plain to see,
not just for a time;
one that asks for inspection,
that leads onward,
a wearing out that can be understood by the intelligent,
each for himself.[9]

Now, Vappa, do you see any reason why āsavas causing pain
should flow in upon him at some future time?'

'No, lord, that cannot be.'

'Now again, Vappa, what think you?

As to those āsavas that come about as the result of activities of speech
in the case of one who abstains from activities of speech that cause vexation and distress,
it follows that those āsavas causing pain do not exist in him.

He does no fresh deed;
as to his former deed,
he wears it out by constant contact with it,
by a wearing out
that is plain to see,
not just for a time;
one that asks for inspection,
that leads onward,
a wearing out that can be understood by the intelligent,
each for himself.

Now, Vappa, do you see any reason why āsavas causing pain
should flow in upon him at some future time?'

'No, lord, that cannot be.'

'Now again, Vappa, what think you?

As to those āsavas that come about as the result of activities of mind,
in the case of one who abstains from activities of mind that cause vexation and distress,
it follows that those āsavas causing pain do not exist in him.

He does no fresh deed;
as to his former deed,
he wears it out by constant contact with it,
by a wearing out
that is plain to see,
not just for a time;
one that asks for inspection,
that leads onward,
a wearing out that can be understood by the intelligent,
each for himself.

Now, Vappa, do you see any reason why āsavas causing pain
should flow in upon him at some future time?'

'No, lord, that cannot be.'

'Again what think you, Vappa?

As to those āsavas causing vexation and distress which result from ignorance, -
owing to the waning of ignorance
and the arising of knowledge
it follows that those āsavas of vexation and distress
do not exist in him.

He does no fresh deed;
as to his former deed,
he wears it out by constant contact with it,
by a wearing out that is plain to see,
not just for a time;
one that asks for inspection,
that leads onward,
a wearing out that can be understood by the intelligent each for himself.

Now, Vappa, do you see any reason why āsavas causing pain
should flow in upon him at some future time?'

'No, lord, that cannot be.'

'So then, Vappa, by the monk whose heart is perfectly [210] released
six constant abiding-states[10] are attained.

He, seeing an object with the eye,
is neither elated nor depressed,
but rests indifferent,
mindful and comprehending.

Hearing a sound with the ear,
is neither elated nor depressed,
but rests indifferent,
mindful and comprehending.

Smelling a scent with the nose,
is neither elated nor depressed,
but rests indifferent,
mindful and comprehending.

Tasting a savour with the tongue,
is neither elated nor depressed,
but rests indifferent,
mindful and comprehending.

With body contacting tangibles,
is neither elated nor depressed,
but rests indifferent,
mindful and comprehending.

With mind cognizing mental states,
is neither elated nor depressed,
but rests indifferent,
mindful and comprehending.

When he feels a feeling limited by body,[11]
he knows that he so feels.

He knows:

When body breaks up,
after life is used up,
all my experiences in this world
will lose their lure and grow cold.

Suppose, Vappa, that a shadow is cast by a stump.[12]

Then comes a man with axe and basket
and cuts down that stump by the root.

So doing he digs all round it.[13]

Having done so he pulls up the roots,
even the rootlets and root-fibres.

He chops that stump into logs,
and having done so chops the log into chips.

The chips he dries in wind and sun,
then burns them with fire,
then makes an ash-heap.

The ash-heap he winnows in a strong wind
or lets the ash be carried away by a swiftly flowing river.

Verily, Vappa, that shadow cast because of the stump
is cut off at the root,
made like a palm-tree stump,
made not to become again,
of a nature not to arise again in future time.

Just in the same way, Vappa,
by a monk whose heart is thus released
six constant abiding-places are won.

He, seeing an object with the eye,
is neither elated nor depressed,
but rests indifferent,
mindful and comprehending.

Hearing a sound with the ear,
is neither elated nor depressed,
but rests indifferent,
mindful and comprehending.

Smelling a scent with the nose,
is neither elated nor depressed,
but rests indifferent,
mindful and comprehending.

Tasting a savour with the tongue,
is neither elated nor depressed,
but rests indifferent,
mindful and comprehending.

With body contacting tangibles,
is neither elated nor depressed,
but rests indifferent,
mindful and comprehending.

With mind cognizing mental states,
is neither elated nor depressed,
but rests indifferent,
mindful and comprehending.

When he feels a feeling limited [211] by body,
he knows that he so feels.

He knows:

When body breaks up,
after life is used up,
all my experiences in this world
will lose their lure and grow cold.

At these words Vappa, the Sakyan,
disciple of the Unclothed,
said this to the Exalted One:

'Lord, just like a man desirous of wealth
who tends his property[14]
but gets no increase therefrom,
but instead gets toil and trouble for his pains,
even so, lord, did I,
desirous of profit,
do service unto the Unclothed.

But I got no profit thereby,
but instead got toil and trouble for my pains.

I myself, lord, from this day forth,
whatever faith I had in those fools the Unclothed, -
I winnow it away in a strong wind,
or I let it be carried away by a swiftly flowing river.

It is wonderful, lord!

It is marvellous!

Just as if, master Gotama,
one should raise the fallen
or show forth the hidden,
or point the way to him that wanders astray,
or hold up a light in the darkness
so that they who have yes may behold objects, —
even so in divers ways has dhamma been set forth by the worthy Gotama.

I do go for refuge to the worthy Gotama!

May the Exalted One accept me as his follower from this time forth
so long as life shall last,
as one who has gone to him for refuge.'

 


[1] Gotama's uncle and a Sakyan rājah acc. to Comy. The Vappa of the Pañca-Vaggiya. See Introduction, p. xiii.

[2] Nata's son, the Jain.

[3] Āsaveyyuɱ; v.l. anvāssaveyyuɱ. Here we have the verb which gives the real meaning of āsava, 'a flood which overwhelms.' Some take it to mean a 'trickling,' or 'an open sore.'

[4] Comy. takes this 'future time' to mean in his next birth, but this would not necessarily be so.

[5] Kāya-samārambha-paccaya.

[6] Evaɱ sa = evam assa.

[7] Phussa-phussa = phusitvā; cf. K.S. iv, 136 n.

[8] Nijjarā = kilesa-jīraṇaka-paṭipadā. Cf. Furth. Dial, i, 67.

[9] These epithets (sandiṭṭhiko, etc.) are usually applied to Dhamma. Comy.

[10] Satata-vihāra. Cf. Dial, iii, 234; SnA. 425; VM. i, 160; Expos. i, 230; Path of Purity, ii, 442; K.S. iv (Kindred Sayings on Sense).

[11] S. ii, 83 = K.S. ii, 57; S. v, 320 = K.S. 283 (where lam not sure that my trans. 'that his bodily endurance has reached its limit' is rigüt). Comy. explains kāya-paricchinnaɱ ... jīvita-paricchinnaɱ as 'confined to the limits of body and life.'

[12] This common simile, generally applied to a great tree, occurs at S. ii, 88, 90, 91, 93, etc. Here the word thūṇa may mean 'stump' or 'pillar' (which, however, has no roots).

[13] Palikhaṇeyya I take to be equal to parikhaṇeyya.

[14] 1 Assa paṇiyaɱ, 'his wares.' Comy. takes it as assa-p., 'horse-property.'


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