Anguttara Nikaya


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Anguttara Nikaya
Pañcaka-Nipāta
XVIII. Upāsaka Vaggo

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
The Book of the Fives
Chapter XVIII: The Lay-Disciple

Sutta 180

Gavesī Suttaɱ

Gavesin, the Seeker

Translated by E. M. Hare

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

Once the Exalted One with
a great following of monks
walked a walk among the Kosalans.

And as the Exalted One went along the highway
he saw a plaoe where grew a big grove of sal trees;
and seeing it there,
he moved down from the road
and went towards it
and made his way among the trees;
and at a certain place
he smiled.[1]

Now the venerable Ānanda thought:

'What cause now,
what reason[2]
moved the Exalted One to show a smile?

Not for nothing
do Tathāgatas smile.'

And the venerable Ānanda asked him
concerning the matter:

'What cause now,
what reason
moved the Exalted One to show a smile?

Not for nothing
do Tathāgatas smile.'

(Then said the Exalted One:)

'At this place, Ānanda,
in olden times
there was a rich and flourishing oity
thronged with many people;
and by the oity, Ānanda,
there dwelt the Exalted One, Kassapa,[3]
arahant,
fully enlightened;
and Gavesin was a lay-disoiple
of the Exalted One, Kassapa;
but he kept not the moral precepts.

Now beoause of Gavesin
there were about five hundred who testified[4]
and were stirred to discipleship,
but they kept not the moral precepts.

Thought he:

"I have greatly served these five hundred lay-disoiples,
being the first to move and bestir myself;
yet I keep not the moral precepts
nor do these five hundred others.

This is a levelling of levels,[5]
leaving no whit of a more.

Come now.

I'm for something more!"

So Gavesin went up to the five hundred
and said:

"Know, good sirs,[6]
from today
that I keep the moral precepts."

Then, Ānanda, those five hundred
thought to themselves:

"Verily, Master Gavesin has greatly served us,
being first to move and bestir himself,
and this same Master Gavesin
will [159] now keep the moral precepts —
why then not we too?"[7]

Then went those five hundred lay-disciples to Gavesin
and told him that they too
henceforth
would keep the moral precepts.

 

 

Again thought Gavesin:

"I have greatly served these five hundred lay-disoiples,
being the first to move and bestir myself;
being the first to keep the moral precepts,
and now they too keep the moral precepts,
but I do not follow the celibate's life,
the life remote,[8]
giving up sex-life,
common among men,[9]
nor do these five hundred others.

This is a levelling of levels,
leaving no whit of a more.

Come now.

I'm for something more!"

So Gavesin went up to the five hundred
and said:

"Know, good sirs,
from today,
I follow the celibate's life,
the life remote,
giving up sex-life,
common among men."

Then, Ānanda, those five hundred
thought to themselves:

"Verily, Master Gavesin has greatly served us,
being first to move and bestir himself,
being first to keep the moral precepts
and now we too keep the moral precepts
and this same Master Gavesin
will follow the celibate's life,
the life remote,
giving up sex-life,
common among men,—
why then not we too?"

Then went those five hundred lay-disciples to Gavesin
and told him that they too
henceforth
would follow the celibate's life,
the life remote,
giving up sex-life,
common among men.

 

 

Again thought Gavesin:

"I have greatly served these five hundred lay-disoiples,
being the first to move and bestir myself;
being the first to keep the moral precepts,
and now they too keep the moral precepts,
being the first to follow the celibate's life,
the life remote,
giving up sex-life,
common among men,
and now they too follow the celibate's life,
the life fromote,
giving up sex-life,
common among men,
but I am not a one-mealer
abstaining from night-eating,
giving up eating at wrong times
nor are these five hundred others.

This is a levelling of levels,
leaving no whit of a more.

Come now.

I'm for something more!"

So Gavesin went up to the five hundred
and said:

"Know, good sirs,
from today,
I am a one-mealer
abstaining from night-eating,
giving up eating at wrong times."

Then, Ānanda, those five hundred
thought to themselves:

"Verily, Master Gavesin has greatly served us,
being first to move and bestir himself,
being first to keep the moral precepts,
and now we too keep the moral precepts,
being first to follow the celibate's life,
the life remote,
giving up sex-life,
common among men,
and now we too follow the celibate's life,
the life remote,
giving up sex-life,
common among men,
and this same Master Gavesin
will become a one-mealer
abstaining from night-eating,
giving up eating at wrong times,—
why then not we too?"

Then went those five hundred lay-disciples to Gavesin
and told him that they too
henceforth
would become one-mealers
abstaining from night-eating,
giving up eating at wrong times.

 

 

Again thought Gavesin:

"I have greatly served these five hundred lay-disoiples,
being the first to move and bestir myself;
being the first to keep the moral precepts,
and now they too keep the moral precepts,
being the first to follow the celibate's life,
the life remote,
giving up sex-life,
common among men,
and now they too follow the celibate's life,
the life remote,
giving up sex-life,
common among men,
but I am not a one-mealer
abstaining from night-eating,
giving up eating at wrong times
nor are these five hundred others.

This is a levelling of levels,
leaving no whit of a more.

Come now.

I'm for something more!"

So Gavesin went up to the five hundred
and said:

"Know, good sirs,
from today,
I am a one-mealer
abstaining from night-eating,
giving up eating at wrong times."

Then, Ānanda, those five hundred
thought to themselves:

"Verily, Master Gavesin has greatly served us,
being first to move and bestir himself,
being first to keep the moral precepts
and now we too keep the moral precepts,
being first to follow the celibate's life,
the life remote,
giving up sex-life,
common among men,
and now we too follow the celibate's life,
the life remote,
giving up sex-life,
common among men,
and this same Master Gavesin
will become a one-mealer
abstaining from night-eating,
giving up eating at wrong times,—
why then not we too?"

Then went those five hundred lay-disciples to Gavesin
and told him that they too
henceforth
would become one-mealers
abstaining from night-eating,
giving up eating at wrong times.

 

 

Now the lay-disoiple Gavesin considered thus:

"I have greatly served these five hundred lay-disoiples,
being the first to move and bestir myself;
being the first to keep the moral precepts,
and now they too keep the moral precepts,
being the first to follow the celibate's life,
the life remote,
giving up sex-life,
common among men,
and now they too follow the celibate's life,
the life remote,
giving up sex-life,
common among men,
being the first to become aone-mealer
abstaining from night-eating,
giving up eating at wrong times
and now they too have become one-mealers
abstaining from night-eating,
giving up eating at wrong times.

This is a levelling of levels,
leaving no whit of a more.

Come now.

I'm for something more!"

And, Ānanda,
the lay-disoiple Gavesin
went to the Exalted One, Kassapa,
arahant,
fully enlightened,
and, having oome,
said to him:

"Lord, grant that I may go forth beside the Exalted One;
grant me full acceptance!"[10]
and Gavesin,
the lay-disciple,
obtained permission to go forth beside Kiussapa,
the Exalted One,
arahant,
fully enlightened;
he obtained full aoceptanoe.

[160] Now not long after his acceptance, Ānanda,
Gavesin the monk,
living alone,
withdrawn,
zealous,
ardent,
resolved,
entered into and abode in
that unsurpassed goal of the godly life,
here among visible things,
realizing it by his own knowledge —
that goal
for the good of which
clansmen's sons rightly go forth from the home
to the homeless life —
and he declared:

Destroyed is birth,
lived is the godly life,
done is the task,
there is no more this-ness!

Thereafter, Ānanda,
the monk Gavesin
was numbered among the arahants.

Then thought those five hundred lay-disciples:

"Verily, Master Gavesin has greatly served us,
being first to move and bestir himself,
being first to keep the moral precepts
and now we too keep the moral precepts,
being first to follow the celibate's life,
the life remote,
giving up sex-life,
common among men,
and now we too follow the celibate's life,
the life remote,
giving up sex-life,
common among men,
being the first to
become a one-mealer
abstaining from night-eating,
giving up eating at wrong times,
and now we too are one-mealers
abstaining from night-eating,
giving up eating at wrong times,
and this same Master Gavesin
now has had his hair and beard shaved off,
donned the yellow robe,
and goes forth from the home to the homeless life;
why then not we too?"

And those five hundred lay-disciples, Ānanda,
went and begged the Exalted One, Kassapa,
saying:

"Grant, lord, that we may go forth beside the Exalted One;
grant us full acceptance!"
- and those five hundred
obtained permission to go forth beside Kassapa,
the Exalted One,
arahant,
fully enlightened;
obtained full aoceptanoe.

Then thought the monk Gavesin:

"I, verily, can obtain
this unsurpassed bliss of liberation
at will,
easily,
and without difficulty;
would that these five hundred monks
could obtain this bliss
at will,
easily,
and without difficulty!"

Ānanda, those five hundred monks
abode alone,
withdrawn,
zealous,
ardent,
resolved;
and, not long after,
entered into and abode in
that unsurpassed goal of the godly life,
here among visible things,
realizing it by their own knowledge —
that goal
for the good of which
clansmen's sons rightly go forth from the home
to the homeless life —
and declared:

Destroyed is birth,
lived is the godly life,
done is the task,
there is no more this-ness!

Thus verily, Ānanda,
those five hundred monks
with Gavesin at their head,
in striving from higher things to higher,
from strength to strength,
came to realize a liberation,
above which there is no higher.

Wherefore, Ānanda,
train yourselves in this way:

From higher to higher,
from strength to strength,[11]
we will [161] strive
and will come to realize the liberation,
above which there is no higher.

Verily thus, Ānanda, train ye yourselves.'

 


[1] This setting recurs elsewhere; see M. ii, 45, 74; Cf. S. ii, 254; Vin. iii, 105. Comy. observes that in smiling the B. merely showed the tips of his teeth and laughed not as ordinary men who smack their bellies and say, Ho ho!

[2] Hetu paccayo.

[3] He who immediately preceded Gotama Buddha.

[4] Paṭidesitāni samādapitāni. Comy. Upasaka-bhāvaɱ paṭidesitāni samādapitāni saraṇesu patiṭṭhāpitāni; Cf. A. iv, 66.

[5] Icc'etaɱ sama-samaɱ.

[6] Āyasmanto.

[7] The text reads kimaŋga pana mayaɱ, but with S.e. and Comy. we should read pana na.

[8] Brahmacārī ārācārī. Cf. A. iv, 249; D. i, 4; M. iii, 88. The text repeats all in full.

[9] Gāmadhanmā, lit. thing of the village, or, in India, where 'village' was more 'urban' than with us, 'thing of communal life.'

[10] Upasampadā; see below V, Ī 251.

[11] Uttaruttariɱ paṇītapaṇītaɱ.


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