Anguttara Nikaya


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Aŋguttara-Nikāya
Pañcaka-Nipāta
IV. Sumanā Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
The Book of the Fives
IV: Sumanā

Sutta 31

Sumanā Suttaṃ

Sumanā, the Rajah's Daughter

Translated by E. M. Hare

Copyright The Pali Text Society
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[32] [24]

[1][olds][bodh] Thus have I heard:

Once the Exalted One was dwelling near Sāvatthī,
at Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park;
and there Sumana,[1] the rajah's daughter,
with a following of five hundred royal maidens
in five hundred chariots,
came and visited him; and,
after saluting,
sat down at one side.

So seated, she spoke thus to the Exalted One:

'Lord, suppose two of the Blessed One's disciples
were alike in faith,
alike in virtue
and alike in insight,
but one was an alms-giver
and the other was not.

Both, on the breaking up of the body after death,
would be reborn in the happy heaven world;
but among the devas, lord,
would there be a distinction,
a difference,
between them?'

'There would be, Sumana,'
and the Exalted One said:

'The alms-giver,
when come to deva-state,
surpasses the non-giver
in five ways:
in divine life-span,
beauty,
happiness,
honour
and power.[2]

In these five ways, Sumanā,
the alms-giver,
when come to deva-state,
surpasses the non-giver.'

'But if, lord,
faring on thence,
they should return to this state here;
when become human, lord,
would there be a distinction,
a difference,
between them?'

'There would be, Sumana,'
and the Exalted One said:

'The alms-giver,
as man,
surpasses the non-giver
in five ways:
in human life-span,
beauty,
happiness,
honour
and power.

In these five ways, Sumanā,
the alms-giver,
as man,
surpasses the non-giver.'

'But if both, lord,
were to go forth from the home
into the [25] homeless life;
when gone forth, lord,
would there be a distinction,
a difference,
between them?'

'There would be, Sumana,'
and the Exalted One said:

'The alms-giver,
when gone forth,
surpasses the non-giver
in five ways:[3]
he is often asked to accept a robe,
he is not rarely asked;
often to accept alms,
not rarely;
often to accept a lodging,
not rarely;
often to accept medicaments for sickness,
not rarely;
with whomsoever he dwells
in leading the godly life,
such folk mostly act towards him with cordiality
in their ways of living,
talking
and thinking;
it is rare for them no to act cordially,
cordially they offer service,[4]
seldom without cordiality.

In these five ways, Sumanā,
an alms-giver,
when gone forth,
surpasses the non-giver.*

'But, lord, if both win arahantship;
in that state
would there be a distinction,
a difference,
between them?

'In that case, Sumanā, I verily declare
there is no difference whatsoever,
that is to say,
comparing emancipation
with emancipation.'

'It is amazing, lord,
it is wonderful, lord,
how far-reaching is the effect of giving alms
and doing good deeds,
since they are a help
and a boon to one
as a deva,
a help and a boon to one
as a man,
yea, a help and a boon
when one has gone forth!'

'It is even so, Sumanā,[51]
far-reaching is the effect of giving alms
and doing good deeds,
since they are a help
and a boon to one
as a deva,
a help and a boon to one
as a man,
yea, a help and a boon
when one has gone forth!'

Thus spake the Exalted One;
and when the Well-gone had thus spoken,
the Master spoke again and said:

'As[6] stainless on her sky-bound course, the moon
Outshines in splendour all the stars' array:
Just so the virtuous, believing man
In charity outshines the mean on earth.
Ev'n[7] as the hundred cloud-peaked thunder-storm,
In lightning wreathed, the hills and hollows fills
Mean men in these five things: long life and honour,
Beauty and happiness, abounding wealth;[8]
And after death lives blissfully in heaven.'

 


[1] The Comy. relates how she made her resolve in a former life under the Buddha Vipassi. She was the sister of Pasenadi, rajah of Kosala (Nepal), and went forth and won arahantship when old; see Sisters, p. 19. Except here and at A. iv, 345 in a list of upāsikās, her name does not seem to recur in the four Nikāyas. The notice at C.H.I. i, 181, so far as she is concerned, refers to the trsl. of S. i, 69 (K.S. i, 94 n. ), not the text; it is curious S.A. does not mention that she was present at the Buddha-Pasenadi talk. Dh'pāla on Thig.16 has much to say; see Sisters, loc. cit.

[2] This is a stock set; Cf. D. iii, 145; S. iv, 275; A. i, 115.

[3] This paragraph recurs below V, Ī 104, and at A. ii, 87; see G.S. ii, 97, differently translated. Cf. also Dial. i, 76, Ī 35 f.

[4] Upahāraṃ upaharanti. Comy. on A. ii observes: kāyika-cetasika-upahāraṃ upaharanti, upanīyanti.

[5] Text repeats.

[6] Cf. below VI, Ī 53 for this simile.

[7] This recurs at S. i, 100; Cf. It. 66.

[8] Bhogaparibbūḷho; the word used above is ādhipateyya ('power').


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