Anguttara Nikaya

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Aŋguttara Nikāya
IV. Devatā Vagga

Sutta 38

Attakārī Sutta


Translated from the Pali by E.M. Hare.

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[1][olds] Now a certain brāhman visited the Exalted One, greeted him and, after exchanging the usual polite talk, sat down at one side.
So seated, he said to the Exalted One:

'This, Master Gotama, is my avowal, this my view:

There is no self-agency; no other agency.'[1]

[238] 'Never, brāhman, have I seen or heard of such an avowal, such a view.

Pray, how can one[2] step onwards,
how can one step back,
yet say:
There is no self-agency;
there is no other agency?

What think you, brāhman, is there such a thing as initiative?'[3]

'Yes, sir.'

'That being so, are men known to initiate?'

Yes, sir.'

'Well, brāhman, since there is initiative
and men are known to initiate,
this is among men the self-agency,
this is the other agency.

What think you, brāhman, is there such a thing as stepping[2] away
... stepping forth
... halting[4]
... standing
... and stepping towards anything?'

'Yes, sir.'

'That being so, are men known to do all these things?'

'Yes sir.'

'Well, brāhman, since there are such things as stepping away,
stepping forth and the rest,
and men are known to do these things,
this is among men the self-agency,
this is the other-agency.

Never, brāhman, have I seen or heard of such an avowal,
such a view as yours.

Pray, how can one step onwards,[5] step back and say:
There is no self-agency,
there is no other-agency?'

'This, indeed, is wonderful,[5] Master Gotama!

This, indeed, is wonderful, Master Gotama!

'Tis just as if one had set upright a thing toppled over,
opened out a covered thing,
showed a blind man along the road,
brought an oil lamp into the dark,
so that those that had eyes could see objects —
it is just thus that Dhamma
has been blazed abroad by Master Gotama
in manifold ways.

'I, Master Gotama,
go to Master Gotama for refuge,
to Dhamma
and to the monk-Order;
let Master Gotama look upon me as a lay-disciple,
to that refuge gone,
henceforth as long as life lasts!'


[1] This is Makkhali Gosala's heresy; see Dial. i, 71; K.S. iii, 169; P.E.D. s.v. atta and para- seems to interpret atta-kāra, para- wrongly; see DA. i, 160. Crit. Pāli Dict. has 'own act'; so Nyāṇatiloka.

[2] ^kram, to walk, with the prefixes abhi, paṭī, nis, parā and upa.

[3] Ārabbhadhātu: ārabbha, gerund of ārādheti, to set on foot; dhātu, element, property, condition. Comy. sabhāva, 'essence.'

[4] Thāma and ṭhiti, both from ^sthā; the former is, I suppose, a causative formation.

[5] Abhikkamanto and abhikkantaŋ, respectively. Where the latter not 'stock,' we might see a pun here in abhikkantaŋ, which means equally 'going forward' (kram) and 'very charming' (kānta).

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