Anguttara Nikaya


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Aŋguttara Nikāya
Chakkanipata
VI. Mahā Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
The Book of the Sixes
Chapter VI: The Great Chapter

Sutta 61

Majjhe Suttaɱ

The Way to the Beyond[1]

Translated from the Pali by E.M. Hare.

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[1][olds]Thus have I heard:

Once, when the Exalted One dwelt near Benares in the Deer Park at Isipatana, a number of elders, who had returned from alms-gathering, and fed, sat together in the round hall; and this talk by change arose:

'This, sirs, was said by the Exalted One in "The Way to the Beyond," in the questions of Metteyya.[2]

"Who knows both ends — not midst[3] that sage is soiled:
Him call I 'great man'; he here hath passed the seamstress."

And what, pray, is the first end, what's the second, what's in the middle and who's the seamstress?'

[2][bd]Now after this had been said, one of the monks answered the elders and said: 'Contact, sirs, is the first end, its arising is the second, its ceasing is in the middle, and craving is the seamstress; for craving sews one just to this ever-becoming birth.[4] Indeed, sirs, to this extent a monk knows the knowable, comprehends the comprehensible; and knowing the knowable, comprehending the comprehensible, he makes an end of Ill, here now.

[3][bd]And when he had thus spoken, another said: 'The past is the first end, the future the second, the present is in the middle, and craving is the seamstress; ... and knowing the knowable, ... he makes an end of Ill.'

[4][bd]And another said: 'Pleasure[5] is the first end, pain is the second, indifference is in the middle, and craving is the seamstress. ... '

[5][bd]And another said: 'Name is the first end, form is the second, consciousness is in the middle, and craving is the seamstress. ... '

[6][bd]And another said: 'One's six sense-organs are the first end, the other six outer objects are the second, consciousness is in the middle, and craving is the seamstress. ... '

[7][bd]And another said: 'Life's bundle[6] is the first end, its arising is the second, its ceasing is in the middle, and craving is the seamstress; for craving sews one just to this ever becoming birth. Indeed, sirs, to this extent a monk knows the knowable, comprehends the comprehensible; and knowing the knowable, comprehending the comprehensible, he makes an end of Ill, here now.'

[8][bd]And when he had finished speaking, another monk addressed the elders and said: 'We have all, reverend sirs, replied as the matter appeared to each one of us. Let us go and visit the Exalted One and tell him. As the Exalted One declares, so will we bear in mind.'

'Very well,' rejoined the elders; and they approached the Exalted One, saluted and sat down at one side. And so seated, they told him all the words and talk that had passed between them, adding: 'Lord, who spoke best?'

'Each one of you, monks, in his own way spoke well; but as to what I spoke of in "The Way to the Beyond," in Metteyya's questions:

"Who knows both ends — not midst that sage is soiled:
Him call I 'great man'; he here hath passed the seamstress."

listen, pay good heed, I will speak!'

'Yes lord,' they replied; and the Exalted One said:

'Verily, contact, monks, is the first end, its arising is the second, its ceasing is in the middle, and craving is the seamstress; for craving sews a man just to this ever-becoming birth. Verily, monks, it is to this extent that a monk knows the knowable, comprehends the comprehensible; and knowing the knowable, comprehending the comprehensible, he makes an end of Ill, here now.'

 


[1] Pārāyana.

[2] See Sn. 1042; S.e. with Sn. and our Comy. read lippati.

[3] 'Him first, him last, him midst and without end' (Milton, Paradise Lost, v, 165)

[4] Tassa tass'eva bhavassa abhinibbattiyā. The seamstress, sibbanī, recurs at DhS. § 1059; craving as jālinī occurs in S. (K.S. i, 134); G.S. ii, 225; Dhp. 180; Th. i, 162, 908.

[5] See D.iii, 216 and ref. there.

[6] Sakkāya; see above VI, § 14.


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