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Aŋguttara Nikāya
Chakkanipata
V. Dhammika Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
The Book of the Sixes
Chapter V: Dhammika

Dhammika Suttaṃ

Sutta 54

Dhammika[1]

Translated from the Pali by E.M. Hare.

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[1] Thus have I heard:

Once, while the Exalted One was dwelling on Mount Vulture Peak near Rājagaha,
the venerable Dhammika was
a lodger in his native district.[2]

And there were there altogether seven settlements.[3]

Now the venerable Dhammika went about insulting the monks who visited,
reviling them,
annoying them,
nudging them,
vexing them with talk;
and they,
insulted,
reviled,
annoyed,
nudged,
vexed with talk;
departed,
nor settled there,
but quitted the lodging.

And the local[2] lay-diseiples thought to themselves:

"We're [261] ready enough
with the requisites -
robe,
alms,
lodpng,
medicaments -
for the Order;
yet visiting monks depart,
nor settle here,
but quit the lodging.

What's the cause and reason for this?"

And they thought:

"It's the venerable Dhammika!

He insults the monks,
reviles them
annoys them,
nudges them,
and vexes them with talk.

Suppose we send him forth."

So they went to the venerable Dhammika
and said to him:

"Sir, let the venerable Dhammika depart,
long enough has he lodged here!"

And the venerable Dhammika left that lodging
for another.

There, too, the venerable Dhammika went about insulting the monks who visited,
reviling them,
annoying them,
nudging them,
vexing them with talk;
and they,
insulted,
reviled,
annoyed,
nudged,
vexed with talk;
departed,
nor settled there,
but quitted the lodging.

And the local lay-diseiples thought to themselves:

"We're ready enough
with the requisites -
robe,
alms,
lodpng,
medicaments -
for the Order;
yet visiting monks depart,
nor settle here,
but quit the lodging.

What's the cause and reason for this?"

And they thought:

"It's the venerable Dhammika!

He insults the monks,
reviles them
annoys them,
nudges them,
and vexes them with talk.

Suppose we send him forth."

So they went to the venerable Dhammika
and said to him:

"Sir, let the venerable Dhammika depart,
long enough has he lodged here!"

And the venerable Dhammika left that lodging
for another.

There, too, the venerable Dhammika went about insulting the monks who visited,
reviling them,
annoying them,
nudging them,
vexing them with talk;
and they,
insulted,
reviled,
annoyed,
nudged,
vexed with talk;
departed,
nor settled there,
but quitted the lodging.

And the local lay-diseiples thought to themselves:

"We're ready enough
with the requisites -
robe,
alms,
lodpng,
medicaments -
for the Order;
yet visiting monks depart,
nor settle here,
but quit the lodging.

What's the cause and reason for this?"

And they thought:

"It's the venerable Dhammika!

He insults the monks,
reviles them
annoys them,
nudges them,
and vexes them with talk.

Suppose we send him forth."

So they went to the venerable Dhammika
and said to him:

"Sir, let the venerable Dhammika
leave all seven local lodgings!"

Then thought the venerable Dhammika:

"I am sent forth by the local lay-disciples
from all seven lodgings of my birthplace;
where shall I go now?"

And he thought:

"What if I visit the Exalted One?"

So the venerable Dhammika,
with robe and bowl,
departed for Rājagaha,
and in due time
came to Mount Vulture Peak
near Rājagaha;
and approaching the Exalted One,
saluted
and sat down at one side.

And the Exalted One said to him,
so seated:

"Well, brāhman Dhammika,
whence come you?"

"Lord, I have been sent forth by the local lay-folk
from the seven lodgings of my native district."

"Come now, brāhman Dhammika,
what's that to you?

No matter where they have sent you forth[4] from,
you have gone forth[4]
thence to come to me!

In[5] times past, brāhman Dhammika,
when seafaring [262] merchants put to sea in ships,
they took with them
a bird to sight land.

When the ship was out of sight of land,
they freed the bird;
and it flew eastward
and westward,
northward
and southward,
upward
and around.

And if the bird sighted land near by,[6]
it was gone for good;[7]
but if the bird saw no land,
it returned to the ship.

Even so, brāhman Dhammika,
no matter where they have sent you forth from,
you have gone forth
thence to come to me.

Long ago, brāhman Dhammika,
rajah Koravya[8] had a king-banyan tree called Steadfast,[9]
and the shade of its widespread[10] branches
was cool and lovely.

Its shelter broadened to twelve leagues,
its roots spread to five
and the great fruit thereof was in keeping -
as big as pipkins[11]
was the sweet fruit,
clear and as sweet as the honey of bees.[12]

And the rajah and his concubines
enjoyed one portion of Steadfast,
the army another;
the town and Country folk
enjoyed one portion,
recluses and godly men
one portion,
and one portion
the beasts and birds enjoyed.

None guarded its fruit
and none hurt another
for its fruit.

Now there came a man
who ate his fill of fruit,
broke a branch
and Went his way.

Thought the deva dwelling in Steadfast:

'How amazing,
how astonishing it is,
that a man should be so evil
as to break a branch off Steadfast,
after eating his fill!

Suppose Steadfast
were to bear no more fruit!'

And Steadfast bore no more fruit.

Then, brāhman Dhammika,
rajah Koravya visited Sakka,
king of devas,
and said:

'Pray, your grace,
know you that Steadfast,
the king-banyan tree,
bears no fruit?'

[263] And Sakka, the deva-king,
worked a work of mystic power
so that there came
a mighty wind and rain
which smote Steadfast
and overturned him.

And the deva dwelling there
was full of grief and despair
and stood beside Steadfast,
weeping and lamenting.

Then brāhman Dhammika,
the deva-king, Sakka,
approached the deva of the banyan tree
and said:

'What ails thee, deva?'

'Your grace, a mighty squall has come
and overturned my home.'[13]

'Came that squall, deva,
whilst thou[14] keptest tree-Dhamma?'

'But how, your grace,
keeps a tree
tree-Dhamma?'

'Just thus, deva:

The grubber takes the roots,
the stripper the bark,
the plucker the leaves,
the picker the fruit,
nor therefore is there any cause
for the deva to mope and pine -
thus keeps a tree tree-Dhamma.'

'Your grace, I was not keeping tree-Dhamma,
when the squall came
and smote and overturned my home.'

'Yet, deva,
shouldst thou keep tree-Dhamma,
thy home would be as of yore.'

'Then I will keep tree-Dhamma, your grace;
let my home be as of yore!'

And, brāhman Dhammika,
the deva-king, Sakka,
worked a work of mystic power
and there came a mighty wind and rain
which set up Steadfast,
the king-banyan tree,
and healed[15] his roots.

Did you, even so, brāhman Dhammika,
keep recluse-Dhamma,
when the local lay-folk sent you forth
from each of the seven lodgings
of your birthplace?"

"But how, lord, keeps a recluse
recluse-Dhamma?"

"Thuswise, brāhman Dhammika:

A recluse returns not [264] the insult of the insulter,
the anger of the angry,
the abuse of the abuser[16] -
thus keeps a recluse
recluse-Dhamma."

"Too true, lord,
I kept not recluse-Dhamma
when the local lay-folk
sent me forth from the seven lodgings."

 


 

"Long[17] ago, brāhman Dhammika,
there was a teacher named Bright-Eyes,[18]
a course-setter,
freed of lust's passions.

And to Bright-Eyes brāhman Dhammika,
there came many hundreds of disciples;
and he taught them Dhamma
to win fellowship in Brahmā's world.

Now those whose hearts
gladdened not at the teaching,
on the breaking up of the body after death,
came to the wayward way,
the ill way,
the abyss,
hell;
but those whose hearts
gladdened at the teaching,
after death,
came to the happy heaven-world.

"Long ago, brāhman Dhammika,
there was a teacher named Maimed-Mute[19]
a course-setter,
freed of lust's passions.

And to Maimed-Mute brāhman Dhammika,
there came many hundreds of disciples;
and he taught them Dhamma
to win fellowship in Brahmā's world.

Now those whose hearts
gladdened not at the teaching,
on the breaking up of the body after death,
came to the wayward way,
the ill way,
the abyss,
hell;
but those whose hearts
gladdened at the teaching,
after death,
came to the happy heaven-world.

"Long ago, brāhman Dhammika,
there was a teacher named Spoke-Rim[20]
a course-setter,
freed of lust's passions.

And to Spoke-Rim brāhman Dhammika,
there came many hundreds of disciples;
and he taught them Dhamma
to win fellowship in Brahmā's world.

Now those whose hearts
gladdened not at the teaching,
on the breaking up of the body after death,
came to the wayward way,
the ill way,
the abyss,
hell;
but those whose hearts
gladdened at the teaching,
after death,
came to the happy heaven-world.

"Long ago, brāhman Dhammika,
there was a teacher named Tillei[21]
a course-setter,
freed of lust's passions.

And to Tillei brāhman Dhammika,
there came many hundreds of disciples;
and he taught them Dhamma
to win fellowship in Brahmā's world.

Now those whose hearts
gladdened not at the teaching,
on the breaking up of the body after death,
came to the wayward way,
the ill way,
the abyss,
hell;
but those whose hearts
gladdened at the teaching,
after death,
came to the happy heaven-world.

"Long ago, brāhman Dhammika,
there was a teacher named Mahout[22]
a course-setter,
freed of lust's passions.

And to Mahout brāhman Dhammika,
there came many hundreds of disciples;
and he taught them Dhamma
to win fellowship in Brahmā's world.

Now those whose hearts
gladdened not at the teaching,
on the breaking up of the body after death,
came to the wayward way,
the ill way,
the abyss,
hell;
but those whose hearts
gladdened at the teaching,
after death,
came to the happy heaven-world.

"Long ago, brāhman Dhammika,
there was a teacher named Light-Ward,[23]
a course-setter,[24]
freed of lust's passions.

And to Light-Ward brāhman Dhammika,
there came many hundreds of disciples;
and he taught them Dhamma
to win fellowship in Brahmā's world.

Now those whose hearts
gladdened not at the teaching,
on the breaking up of the body after death,
came to the wayward way,
the ill way,
the abyss,
hell;
but those whose hearts
gladdened at the teaching,
after death,
came to the happy heaven-world.

Now what think you, brāhman Dhammika,
would a man beget great demerit,
were he,
with ill wit,
to insult,
revile
these six teachers,
course-setters,
freed of lust's passions,
or the many hundreds of the disciples
of their orders?"

"Surely, lord."

"Indeed, brāhman Dhammika,
a man would beget great demerit,
were he,
with ill wit,
to insult,
revile
these six teachers,
course-setters,
freed of lust's passions,
or the many hundreds of the disciples
of their orders;
but he would beget greater demerit
were he,
with ill wit,
to insult,
revile a person with vision.[25]

And why?

I declare, brāhman,
that in the reviling of outsiders
there is not so great a pit[26] [265] dug for oneself
as in the reviling
of one's fellows in the godly life.

Wherefore, brāhman Dhammika,
train thus:

'We will think no ill of our fellows in the godly life.'

Verily, brāhman Dhammika, you should train yourself thus.

Brāhmans were Bright-Eyes, Maimed-Mute and Spoke-Rim,
A teacher Tiller and a prince[27] Mahout,
And Light-Ward, lord of bulls,[28] the seven's house-priest:
Six past-famed teachers who in harmlessness,
Not fetidness,[29] by pity freed,[30] lust's bonds
O'ercame, lust's passions purged, Brahma's world won.
So too their many hundred followers
Unfetid and by pity freed, lust's bonds
O'ercame, lust's passions purged, Brahma's world won.
Who with ill-fashioned wit revileth them,
Sages of other sects, lust-freed, composed -
That man shall great demerit thus beget:
But who with ill-fashioned wit revileth him,
The view-won monk - disciple of th'Awake -
That man by that demerit greater makes.
[266] Vex[31] not the righteous, rid of groundless views,[32]
"Best man o'th'Ariyan Order" him they Call;
Nor where lust's passions are but wholly stilled;[33] Nor where the senses'edge is blunt;[34] nor where
Faith, mindfulness, zest, calm and insight sway:
Who vexes such, firstly is hurt himself;
Who hurts himself, thereafter harms another:
But who wards self, his outward[35] too is warded.
Hence ward thyself, digging no pit,[36] e'er wise.'

 


[1] He is no doubt the Dhammika of Thag. 303-306; Brethr. 185. Dhammapāla seems to have known our story but forgotten the details; he uses 'gāmakāvāsa' for our 'jāti-bhūmi.' He refers to the 'rukkha-dhamma-jātaka., See below. Vism. 442 refers to a lay-disciple called Dhammika.

[2] Jāti-bhūmi and -bhūmika; cf. M. i, 145. Comy. is silent here, but on M. 'jāta-ṭṭhāna,' observing that Kapilavatthu was the B,'s 'jāti-bhūmi.'

[3] Precursors of the monastery.

[4] Pabbājenti and pabbājito; there is a word-play; the latter means, also, gone forth into the Order, made a monk, ordained.

[5] This recurs at D. i, 222; cf. J. iii, 120, 267. Comy. says the bird was a 'quarter' crow. In the (possibly allied) story of Noah sending out birds from the ark, the raven did not return though it sighted no land. A-tīra-dassin was used of the untaught manyfolk, 'one who has not sighted the beyond'; K.S. iii, 140 (S. iii, 164). (J. iii, 267 at DA. ii, 657 is called Dhammika-vāyasa-jātaka.)

[6] Text samantā, but Comy. as well sāmantā.

[7] Tathāgatako.

[8] This may be the half-mythical Pañchāla king, Kraivya, C.H.I. i, 121.

[9] Suppatiṭṭha, S.e. so. Suppatiṭṭha was a shrine near Rājagaha, Vin. i, 38.

[10] Pañca-sākha; see Mcd. Skt. Dict. s.v. \/Ḥpañc.

[11] Āḷhaka-thālikā. Comy. taṇḍulāḷhakassa bhattapacanathālikā.

[12] Khuddaṃ madhuṃ. Comy. khudda-makkhikāhi kataṃ daṇḍaka-madhuṃ.

[13] Bhavanaṃ, haunt.

[14] Api nu tvaṃ ... ṭhitayā; so also S.e. Comy. explains: apt nu tava, and we should perhaps read tavaṃ.

[15] Sacchavīni. Comy. samāna-cchavīni; the Burmese v.l. sañchavīni; cf. M. ii, 216, 259.

[16] Cf. A. ii, 215. Comy. and S.e. read, rightly, rosentaṃ.

[17] All this recurs at A. iv, 135; cf. also 103. The Dhamma taught is that of the Bodhisat, the Amity-Dhamma; see J. ii, 60; iv, 490; this is Brahmavihāra doctrine, Exp. 257 ff. Probably the six sages are rebirths of the Bodhisat. Comy. is silent.

[18] Sunetta, so Comy.; J. i, 35, 39.

[19] Mūgapakkha, J. i, 46; iv, 1; Cariyāpit., p. 96.

[20] Aranemi; refs, are lacking.

[21] Kuddālaka, J. i, 46.

[22] Hatthipāla, J. i, 45; iv, 473 ff.

[23] Jotipāla, D. ii, 230 ff.; J. i, 43; iii, 463.

[24] Tittha-kara.

[25] Diṭṭhi-sampanna. Comy. sotāpanna.

[26] Evarupiṃ khantiṃ. Comy. attano guṇa-khaṇanar)ṃ; possibly the reading is incorrect, but S.e. and our texts so. That Comy. gives the right meaning is confirmed by akkhato; guṇa-khanaṇena (Comy.) in the last line of the gāthā.

[27] Māṇavo; the Jātakas call him Kumāra.

[28] Govinda, Dial. ii, 266: 'Steward'; he was the chaplain, purohita, to rajah Reṇu and his six friends with whom he (Reṇu) shared his kingdom; our Comy. refers to this story.

[29] Nir-āma-gandha. Comy. kodhāma-gandha. However, even Light-Ward in the Digha story did not understand this word when used by Brahma, the Eternal Youth! I quote the Rhys Davids translation:

(What mean'st thou by "foul odours among men,"
O Brahmā? Here I understand thee not.
Tell what these signify, who knowest all. ...'
Anger and lies, deceit and treachery,
Selfishness, self-conceit and jealousy,
Greed, doubt, and lifting hands 'gainst fellow-men,
Lusting and hate, dulness and pride of life, -
When yoked with these man is of odour foul,
Hell-doomed, and shut out from the heay'n of Brāhm.'

[30] Karuṇe vimuttā. Comy. karuna-jjhāna vimuttā; this is the seoond brahma-vihāra, goṇdly state.

[31] Na sādhu-rūpaṃ āsīde. P.E.D. suggests na should be omitted, but see s.v. āsajja; the meaning of āsīde here is the same as at A. iii, 69.

[32] Diṭṭhi-ṭṭhāna- (Comy. says 'the 62,' D. i, 1 ff.).. The arahant is referred to.

[33] The Non-returner is referred to.

[34] Cf. A. ii, 151; the Once-returner is referred to.

[35] Tassa bāhiro.

[36] Ahkhato. Comy. guṇa-khaṇanena.


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