Anguttara Nikaya


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Aŋguttara Nikāya
X. Dasaka-Nipāta
III. Mahā Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
X. The Book of the Tens
III: The Great Chapter

Sutta 27

Mahā-Pañha Suttaɱ

The Great Questions[1]

Translated from the Pali by F. L. Woodward, M.A.

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[48] [33]

[1][bodh] Once the Exalted One was staying near Sāvatthī at Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

Then a great number of monks,
robing themselves in the forenoon
and taking bowl and robe,
set out for Sāvatthī
questing for alms-food.

Now it occurred to those monks thus:
It is full early yet to range Sāvatthī for alms-food.
Suppose we visit the park of the Wanderers holding other views.

Accordingly they did so,
[34] and on getting there greeted them courteously, and,
after the exchange of greetings and reminiscent talk,
sat down at one side.
So seated those Wanderers of other views said this to them:

'Your reverences, Gotama the recluse thus teaches dhamma:
Come ye, monks,
do ye thoroughly grasp all dhamma,
do ye dwell ever and always thoroughly grasping all dhamma.

Now, your reverences,
we also thus teach dhamma to ourfollowers:
Come, your reverences,
do ye thoroughly grasp all dhamma;
do ye ever and always dwell thoroughly grasping all dhamma.

Herein, your reverences,
pray what is the distinction,
what is the specific feature,
what is the difference between Gotama the recluse and ourselves,
that is, between his teaching of dhamma and ours,
or his way of instruction and ours?'

Thereupon those monks made no reply,
either of approval or of disapproval
to those Wanderers holding other views;
but without expressing either approval or disapproval
they rose up and went away, saying:
'We will learn the meaning of this saying
in the company of the Exalted One.'

So those monks,
after ranging Sāvatthī for alms-food,
on returning from their alms-round
and after eating their meal,
went tosee the Exalted One,
and on coming to him
saluted him and sat down at one side.
So seated they said this to the Exalted One:

'Sir, here in the forenoon we robed ourselves ...' and they related the incident and how they went away without answering the Wanderers.

'Monks, when Wanderers holding other views speak thus,
they should be thus spoken to:

"The one question,
the one statement,
the one explanation;
the two questions,
the two statements,
the two explanations
the three questions,
the three statements,
the three explanations
the four questions,
the four statements,
the four explanations
the five questions,
the five statements,
the five explanations
the six questions,
the six statements,
the six explanations
the seven questions,
the seven statements,
the seven explanations
the eight questions,
the eight statements,
the eight explanations
the nine questions,
the nine statements,
the nine explanations
the ten questions,
the ten sttements,
the ten explanations."

Thus questioned, monks,
the Wanderers holding other views will fail to answer,
and further will come to discomfiture.

Why so?

Because, monks, that is beyond their scope.[2]

Monks, I behold not in the world
with its Devas,
its Māras,
[35] its Brahmās,
its host of recluses and brāhmins,
together with its devas and mankind,
I behold not one
who could convince the mind
with an explanation of these questions
save only the Wayfarer
or one of his disciples,
or one who had heard it from that sourse.

As to the saying:
"The one question, the one statement, the one explanation,"
owing to what was it said?

Monks, if in one thing a monk rightly feel revulsion,
rightly feel fading interest (in the world),
rightly be released,
rightly have sight to the furthest bounds
and rightly comprehend the meaning of things,
then in this same visible state
he makes an end of Ill.[3]

In what one thing?

In this, namely:

All beings are persisters by food.

In this one thing, monks,
if a monk rightly feel revulsion,
rightly feel fading interest (in the world),
rightly be released,
rightly have sight to the furthest bounds
and rightly comprehend the meaning of things,
then in this same visible state
he makes an end of Ill.

"The one question,
the one statement,
the one explanation"
was said because of this.

As to the saying:
"The two questions,
the two statements,
the two explanations,"
owing to what was it said?

Monks, if in two things a monk rightly feel revulsion,
rightly feel fading interest (in the world),
rightly be released,
rightly have sight to the furthest bounds
and rightly comprehend the meaning of things,
then in this same visible state
he makes an end of Ill.

In what two things?

Both in name-and-visible-body-complex.

In these two things if a monk rightly feel revulsion,
rightly feel fading interest (in the world),
rightly be released,
rightly have sight to the furthest bounds
and rightly comprehend the meaning of things,
then in this same visible state
he makes an end of Ill.

"The two questions,
the two statements,
the two explanations"
was said because of this.

As to the saying:
"The three questions,
the three statements,
the three explanations,"
owing to what was it said?

Monks, if in three things a monk rightly feel revulsion,
rightly feel fading interest (in the world),
rightly be released,
rightly have sight to the furthest bounds
and rightly comprehend the meaning of things,
then in this same visible state
he makes an end of Ill.

In what three things?

The three knowings (by sensation).

In these three things if a monk rightly feel revulsion,
rightly feel fading interest (in the world),
rightly be released,
rightly have sight to the furthest bounds
and rightly comprehend the meaning of things,
then in this same visible state
he makes an end of Ill.

"The three questions,
the three statements,
the three explanations,"
was said because of this.

As to the saying:
"The four questions,
the four statements,
the four explanations,"
owing to what was it said?

Monks, if in four things a monk rightly feel revulsion,
rightly feel fading interest (in the world),
rightly be released,
rightly have sight to the furthest bounds
and rightly comprehend the meaning of things,
then in this same visible state
he makes an end of Ill.

In what four things?

The four [36] sustenances.[4]

If in these four things a monk rightly feel revulsion,
rightly feel fading interest (in the world),
rightly be released,
rightly have sight to the furthest bounds
and rightly comprehend the meaning of things,
then in this same visible state
he makes an end of Ill.

"The four questions,
the four statements,
the four explanations,"
was said because of this.

As to the saying:
"The five questions,
the five statements,
the five explanations,"
owing to what was it said?

Monks, if in five things a monk rightly feel revulsion,
rightly feel fading interest (in the world),
rightly be released,
rightly have sight to the furthest bounds
and rightly comprehend the meaning of things,
then in this same visible state
he makes an end of Ill.

What five things?

The five grasping-heaps.

If in these five things a monk rightly feel revulsion,
rightly feel fading interest (in the world),
rightly be released,
rightly have sight to the furthest bounds
and rightly comprehend the meaning of things,
then in this same visible state
he makes an end of Ill.

"The five questions,
the five statements,
the five explanations"
was said because of this.

As to the saying:
"The six questions,
the six statements,
the six explanations,"
owing to what was it said?

Monks, if in six things a monk rightly feel revulsion,
rightly feel fading interest (in the world),
rightly be released,
rightly have sight to the furthest bounds
and rightly comprehend the meaning of things,
then in this same visible state
he makes an end of Ill.

What six things?

The six spheres in the self.

If in these six things a monk rightly feel revulsion,
rightly feel fading interest (in the world),
rightly be released,
rightly have sight to the furthest bounds
and rightly comprehend the meaning of things,
then in this same visible state
he makes an end of Ill.

"The six questions,
the six statements,
the six explanations,"
was said because of this.

As to the saying:
"The seven questions,
the seven statements,
the seven explanations,"
owing to what was it said?

Monks, if in seventhings a monk rightly feel revulsion,
rightly feel fading interest (in the world),
rightly be released,
rightly have sight to the furthest bounds
and rightly comprehend the meaning of things,
then in this same visible state
he makes an end of Ill.

What seven things?

The seven stations of consciousness.[5]

If in these seven things a monk rightly feel revulsion,
rightly feel fading interest (in the world),
rightly be released,
rightly have sight to the furthest bounds
and rightly comprehend the meaning of things,
then in this same visible state
he makes an end of Ill.

"The seven questions,
the seven statements,
the seven explanations,"
was said because of this.

As to the saying:
"The eight questions,
the eight statements,
the eight explanations,"
owing towhat was it said?

Monks, if in eight things a monk rightly feel revulsion,
rightly feel fading interest (in the world),
rightly be released,
rightly have sight to the furthest bounds
and rightly comprehend the meaning of things,
then in this same visible state
he makes an end of Ill.

What eight things?

The eight worldly matters.[6]

If in these eight things a monk rightly feel revulsion,
rightly feel fading interest (in the world),
rightly be released,
rightly have sight to the furthest bounds
and rightly comprehend the meaning of things,
then in this same visible state
he makes an end of Ill.

"The eight questions,
the eight statements,
the eight explanations,"
was said because of this.

[37] As to the saying:
"The nine questions,
the nine statements,
the nine explanations,"
owing to what was it said?

Monks, if in nine things a monk rightly feel revulsion,
rightly feel fading interest (in the world),
rightly be released,
rightly have sight to the furthest bounds
and rightly comprehend the meaning of things,
then in this same visible state
he makes an end of Ill.

What nine things?

The nine abodes of beings.[7]

If in the nine things a monk rightly feel revulsion,
rightly feel fading interest (in the world),
rightly be released,
rightly have sight to the furthest bounds
and rightly comprehend the meaning of things,
then in this same visible state
he makes an end of Ill.

"The nine questions,
the nine statements,
the nine explanations,"
was said because of this.

As to the saying:
"The ten questions,
the ten statements,
the ten explanations,"
owing to what was it said?

Monks, if in ten things a monk rightly feel revulsion,
rightly feel fading interest (in the world),
rightly be released,
rightly have sight to the furthest bounds
and rightly comprehend the meaning of things,
then in this same visible state
he makes an end of Ill.

What ten things?

The ten wrong ways of action.[8]

If in these ten things a monk rightly feel revulsion,
rightly feel fading interest (in the world),
rightly be released,
rightly have sight to the furthest bounds
and rightly comprehend the meaning of things,
then in this same visible state
he makes an end of Ill.

"The ten questions,
the ten statements,
the ten explanations"
was said because of this.'

 


[1] At K.S. iv, 207 the housefather Citta puts these questions (Kumāra-pañhā) to the Nigaṇṭha, Nāta's son and he cannot answer. See Mrs. Rhys Davids' Introduction to her trans. of Kuddaka-pāṭha (S.B. of B. Series), p. xlix ff., where their origin and real ancient meaning is discussed. In the sutta following, the Kajangalan nun gives a list different in some respects. All three lists agree in the first three and ninth items. I give here a comparative table:

I (KhP.).

II (A.v, 50)

III (The Nun, p. 56)

All beings persist by food

The same.

The same.

Name and visible body-complex

The same

The same

Three knowings by sensation

The same

The same

The four truths

Four sustenances

Four satipaṭṭhānā

Five grasping-groups

The same

Five faculties

Six spheres in the self

The same

Six elements of deliverance

Seven limbs of wisdom

Seven stations of consciousness

Seven limbs of wisdom

The eightfold Way

Eight world-conditions (A.iv, 156)

The eightfold Way

Nine abodes of beings

The same

The same

Arahant's ten qualities

Good-action-paths

Arahant's ten qualities

At A. v, 58 the Master approves of the nun's version. In Paṭisambhidā i, 22 again we find another variation of ten things — viz.: No. 1, contact with cankers leading to grasping; Nos. 2 to 9 as here; No. 10, the ten āyatana's.

[2] Cf. K.S. iv, 16, 39.

[3] This paragraph, according to Comy., forms the uddesa or statement. The words 'all beings,' etc., are the veyyākaraṇaŋ or explanation.

[4] I.e. solid food, contact (of sense), work of mind, consciousness (or as we should say 'the conscious self').

[5] Described at A. iv, 39, but is the same as the first seven of the Nine Abodes of Beings.

[6] Cf. A. iv, 156, gain and not gain, repute and not-repute, blame and praise, pleasure and pain.

[7] The seven of No. 7, with two spheres of unconsciousness.

[8] The wong actions of the first four precepts, with three of speech, coveting, harmfulness and wrong view. Cf. Netti, 43.


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