Anguttara Nikaya


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Anguttara Nikāya
Sattaka Nipāta
III: Vajjī Vaggo

The Book of the
Gradual Sayings
The Book of the Sevens
Chapter III: The Vajjians

Sutta 20

Vassakāra[1]

Translated from the Pali by E.M. Hare.

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[1][than] Thus have I heard:

Once, when the Exalted One dwelt near Rājagaha on Mount Vulture Peak,
the Magadhan rajah, Ajātasattu, the Videhan's[2] son,
wished to attack the Vajjians.

Said he:

'Though they are so powerful and strong,
I'll root them out,
I'll destroy them,
I'll reduce these Vajjians to wretchedness and ruin!'[3]

And Ajātasattu summoned the Magadhan chief minister,
brahman Vassakara, and said:

'Go, brahman, visit the Exalted One
and in my name bow your head at his feet;
ask whether he be free of sickness,
of ailment,
at ease,
hale and comfortable;
say to him:

"Lord, rajah Ajātasattu salutes the Exalted One
and asks if he be in health."

And speak thus:

"The Magadhan rajah, Ajātasattu, the Videhan's son,
is anxious to attack the Vajjians;
and he has declared:

'Though they be so powerful and strong,
I'll root them out,
I'll destroy them,
I'll reduce these Vajjians to wretchedness and ruin!'"

As the Exalted One answers,
that study carefully and tell me.'

'Yes, sir,' replied brahman Vassakara;
and he approached the Exalted One,
greeted him and,
after exchanging the usual polite talk,
sat down at one side.

And so seated, he spoke thus to the Exalted One:

'Master Gotama, the rajah of Magadha, Ajātasattu, the Videhan's son,
bows his head at Master Gotama's feet,
and asks if he be in health."

And speak thus:

"The Magadhan rajah, Ajātasattu, the Videhan's son,
is anxious to attack the Vajjians;
and he has declared:

'Though they be so powerful and strong,
I'll root them out,
I'll destroy them,
I'll reduce these Vajjians to wretchedness and ruin!'"

Now at that time the venerable Ānanda stood behind the Exalted One fanning him.[4]

Then said the Exalted One to the venerable Ānanda:

'What think you, Ānanda, have you heard:

The Vajjians are often assembled,
much in assembly?'

Yes, lord, I have heard
the Vajjians are often assembled,
much in assembly.

'Well, so long as the Vajjians are often assembled,
much in assembly,
growth may be expected,
not decline.'

'What think you, Ānanda, have you heard:

Do the Vajjians sit down in concord,
rise up in concord,
do business in concord?

Yes, lord, I have heard
the Vajjians sit down in concord,
rise up in concord,
do business in concord.

'Well, so long as they shall sit down in concord,
rise up in concord,
do business in concord,
growth may be expected,
not decline.

'What think you, Ānanda, have you heard:

Do the Vajjians not decree the undecreed
nor repeal the decreed,
but conform to the ancient Vajjian laws as decreed?

Yes, lord, I have heard
the Vajjians do not decree the undecreed
nor repeal the decreed,
but conform to the ancient Vajjian laws as decreed.

'Well, so long as they shall not decree the undecreed
nor repeal the decreed,
but conform to the ancient Vajjian laws as decreed,
growth may be expected,
not decline.

'What think you, Ānanda, have you heard:

Do the Vajjians honour,
respect,
venerate,
revere the Vajjian elders,
and hold they ought to be listened to?

Yes, lord, I have heard
the Vajjians honour,
respect,
venerate,
revere the Vajjian elders,
and hold they ought to be listened to.

'Well, so long as they shall honour,
respect,
venerate,
revere the Vajjian elders,
shall hold they ought to be listened to,
growth may be expected,
not decline.

'What think you, Ānanda, have you heard:

Do the Vajjians not forcibly kidnap
and make live with them
women and girls of their own clan?

Yes, lord, I have heard
the Vajjians do not forcibly kidnap
and make live with them
women and girls of their own clan.

'Well, so long as they shall not forcibly kidnap
and make live with them
women and girls of their own clan,
growth may be expected,
not decline.

'What think you, Ānanda, have you heard:

Do the Vajjians honour,
respect,
venerate,
revere the Vajjian shrines
within and without (their borders),
and not fail to provide meet offerings
as given of yore,
made of yore?

Yes, lord, I have heard
the Vajjians honour,
respect,
venerate,
revere the Vajjian shrines
within and without (their borders),
and do not fail to provide meet offerings
as given of yore,
made of yore.

'Well, so long as they shall honour,
respect,
venerate,
revere the Vajjian shrines
within and without (their borders),
shall not fail to provide meet offerings
as given of yore,
made of yore,
growth may be expected,
not decline.

'What think you, Ānanda, have you heard:

Do the Vajjians provide meet protection,
refuge,
shelter for Vajjian arahants
and is it known
that arahants from abroad
may come thither
and that those there dwell in comfort?

Yes, lord, I have heard
the Vajjians provide meet protection,
refuge,
shelter for Vajjian arahants
and is it known
that arahants from abroad
may come thither
and that those there dwell in comfort.

'Well, so long as meet protection,
refuge,
shelter shall be provided for Vajjian arahants
and it shall be known
that arahants from abroad
may come thither
and that those there dwell in comfort,
growth may be expected,
not decline.

Then said the Exalted One to brahman Vassakara:

Now I was once staying at Sārandada shrine near Vesālī
and there I taught the Vajjians
these seven things that cause not decline;
and so long, brahman,
as these seven things that cause not decline
shall endure among the Vajjians
and they conform thereto,
growth may be expected,
not decline.'

And when he had spoken,
the Magadhan chief minister said:

'Then, Master Gotama,
possessed of any one of the things that cause not decline,
growth for the Vajjians may be expected,
not decline;
but what will be said if they have all seven?

In sooth, Master Gotama,
the Vajjians cannot be overcome by the Magadhan rajah, Ajātasattu,
the Videhan's son,
that is not in battle,
but only by cunning,
by breaking up their alliance.[5]

Well, now we must be going
for we have much to do,
much business.'

'Do as you think fit, brahman.'

Then brahman Vassakara,
pleased and gratified,
arose and departed.

 


[1] See D. ii, 72 ff.ṁ, M. iii, 8; G.S. ii, 40. Rājagaha was the Magadhan (Bihar) capital.

[2] See K.S. i, 321 for a summary of various commentarial explanations of this name; Amitāyur-Dhyāna-sutra, S.B.E. xlix, 161 ff. for a sutta about her.

[3] Comy. explains: There was a port on the Ganges the same distance from the rajah's country as from the Licchavis'; and a rich consignment of perfumery (mahagghaɱ gandhabhaṇḍaɱ) was brought there. Both prepared to attack, but the Licchavis stole a march on Ajātasattu and made off with everything. They did this two years running and A. was very angry. Cf. B. C. Law's Buddhaghosa, 111.

[4] Comy. Though the elder fanned him, he was neither hot nor cold.

[5] D.A. ii, 522 ff. relates how Ajātasattu overcame the Vajjians; for a summary of this, see C.H.I. i, 185. On upalāpana and mithu-bheda, see E. H. Johnston's notes in J.R.A.S., July, 1931; our Comy. repeats D.A.'s note.


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