Digha Nikaya


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Sacred Books of the Buddhists
Volume II

Dīgha Nikāya

Dialogues of the Buddha
Part I

Sutta 12

Lohikka Suttantaɱ

Some Points in the Ethics of Teaching

Translated from the Pali by T.W. Rhys Davids

Public Domain

Originally published under the patronage of
His Majesty King Chulālankarana,
King of Siam
by The Pali Text Society, Oxford

 


 

Introduction
to the
Lohikka Sutta

.

It is not easy to put ourselves in the mental position suitable for appreciating the kind of idea that underlies the argument in this Suttanta. The social view against which it, is directed lies too remote from the social views universally admitted now in the West. But in the sixth century B. C. in the Eastern valley of the Ganges, the question as to the ethics of teachers and teaching was one of wide interest and of great importance.

Saŋkara quotes with approval the rules of the priestly law books which lay down that the ears of a Sūdra who hears the Veda (including of course the theosophy of the Upanishads) are to be filled with molten lead and lac. His tongue is to be split if he recites it; his body is to be cut through if he preserves it in his memory[1]. God himself has bestowed the exclusive right of teaching upon the hereditary priests[2]; who indeed claim to be, each of them, great divinities[3], even to the gods[4]. And it would be a danger to social order if they taught women, or any males not twice-born, or any twice-born males who would not share their views as to the ethics of teaching, and as to the privileges and prerogatives of the priest as teacher.

These passages are much later than the Piṭakas. But they, and the many others like them, give a fair idea of the spirit animating one section at least of the priests, and of a trend of opinion that doubtless had its supporters also in Piṭaka times. When Asoka thought he had brought about such a chance in public opinion that those who had been very gods upon the earth had come to be gods no longer, he was very far from thinking right. That is a battle that is not so easily won. But the expression of his belief is sufficient to show that the striking idea he thought he had killed was far older than our existing text of Manu.

On the other hand one may be permitted to doubt whether the gentle measures approved by Saŋkara for keeping people in that state of life into which their evil deeds in a previous birth had brought them, were ever actually, in practice, carried out. The Piṭakas themselves give ample proof that, in spite of the priests, there were not a few base-born people who succeeded, in that time at least, not only in getting taught, but in becoming teachers. And this was not the case only among the despised Buddhists. The numerous passages collected by Dr. Muir in his article in the 'Indian Antiquary' for 1877 show that the priestly literature itself — the law books and the epics — has preserved evidence of the lax way in which the strict rules as to exclusion from teaching or being taught were really carried out. And that is especially the case, according to the priestly tradition, in ancient times, as old, or older, than the rise of Buddhism.

The fact doubtless is that, though there were bigots among the Brahmans, and though they were strong enough to establish, before the time to which our present Sutta refers, rules as to restriction of teaching which no one in priestly circles could venture formally to dispute — yet that there was also always a strong party in India, to which many of the more liberal minded of the Brahmans themselves belonged, who looked with sympathy on relaxations of these rules. The general practice must have been that, the hereditary priests kept the magic of the sacrifice, and the emoluments and privileges that went with the knowledge of it, in their own hands. Even the higher teaching of the mysteries of theosophy was to be handed down only from priest-father to son, or from priestly teacher to pupil. But there were many exceptions. The numerous Brahmans who were not priests were wont, of course, to emphasise the importance rather of birth than of knowledge. We have enough evidence, even in the pre-Buddhistic Upanishads, of others, besides the priests, being teachers of the higher wisdom. The four powerful kings, and the still important free clans, though they gave support to the Brahmans, gave also equal support to other teachers — just as, in later times, Hindu and Buddhist sovereigns are found supporting Buddhists and Hindus alike.

Our knowledge of Indian views of life having been hitherto derived almost exclusively from the priestly books, scholars have inevitably tended to attach too great a degree of importance to what the priests describe as the proper state of things. As a matter of fact it never really prevailed. Even now the Brahmans, or those who in the census returns claim to be such, form only about five per cent. of the population. And of these the vast majority are not priests at all; they are engaged in all sorts of worldly occupations[5]. We must not judge India at any time, much less in the time of the Buddha, through the yellow spectacles of Saŋkara, or even of the priestly compilers of Manu. As M. Barth said, already in 1873, in protesting against Lassen for falling into this mistake[6]: 'We must distinguish, more than Lassen does, between different epochs, as well as between the pretensions of a caste and the real state of things. The Brahmans had not yet monopolised the intellectual life. Certain testimonies of the epics, applicable to this very period, as also the very nature of the Vedic books, show for example that there existed alongside of them an entire profane literature of great extent ... .which was certainly, at first, in other hands. ... Their teaching (that of the Brahmans), it is true, appears to have been in a high degree esoteric and exclusive.'

The position taken up by the Buddha on this question, as appears from our present Sutta (and such other passages as M. I, 513-.524; A. I, 277; III, 123-127 ; M.P.S. II, 32 = A. III, 69 = V, 56 = Mil. 144), is that every one should be allowed to learn ; that every one, having certain abilities, should be allowed to teach; and that, if he does teach, he should teach all and to all; keeping nothing back, shutting no one out. But no man should take upon himself to teach others unless and until he have first taught himself, and have also acquired the faculty of imparting to others the truth he has gained himself.

There can, I think, be very little doubt but that the great teacher is here voicing the opinion of many others of liberal views, his contemporaries and predecessors. He lays no claim, either in our Sutta or elsewhere, to any special peculiarity in this respect. It is taken for granted that the arguments put into his mouth in our Sutta will appeal to the Brahman to whom they are addressed. And they are based not on any distinctively Buddhist doctrine but on general ethical principles accepted, or rather acceptable, by all.

 


 

[224]

XI. Lohikka Sutta

Some Points In The Ethics Of Teaching

[1][ati] THUS HAVE I HEARD. The Exalted One, when once passing on a tour through the Kosala districts with a great multitude of the members of the Order, with about five hundred Bhikshus, arrived at Sālavatikā (a village surrounded by a row of Sāla trees). Now at that time Lohikka[7] the Brahman was established at Sālavatikā, a spot teeming with life, with much grassland and woodland and corn, on a royal domain granted him by King Pasenadi of Kosala, as a royal gift, with power over it as if he were the king[8].

2. Now at that time Lohikka the Brahman was thinking of harbouring, the following wicked view: 'Suppose that a Samaṇa or a Brāhmaṇa have reached up to some good state (of mind), then he should tell no one else about it. For what can one man do for another? To tell others would be like the man who, having broken through an old bond, should entangle himself in a new one. Like that, I say, is this (desire to declare to others); it is a form of lust. For what can one man do for another[9]?

Now Lohikka the Brahman heard the news: 'They say that the Samaṇa Gotama, of the sons of the Sākyas, as, who went out from the Sākya clan to adopt the religious life, has now arrived, with a great company of the brethren of his Order, on his tour through the Kosala districts, at Sālavatikā. Now regarding that venerable Gotama, such is the high reputation that has been noised abroad: — that Exalted One is an Arahat, fully awakened, abounding, in wisdom and goodness, happy, with knowledge of the worlds, unsurpassed as a guide to mortals willing to be led, a teacher for gods and men, an exalted one, a Buddha. He, by himself, thoroughly knows, and sees as it were face-to-face, this universe — including the worlds above of the gods, the Brahmās, and the Māras; and the world below with its Samaṇas and Brāhmaṇas, its princes and peoples — and having, known it, he makes his knowledge known to others. The truth, lovely in its origin, lovely in its progress, lovely in its consummation, doth he proclaim both in the spirit and in the letter. The higher life doth he make known in all its fullness, and in all its purity. And good is it to pay visits to Arahats like that.'

[225] 4. Then Lohikka the Brahman said to Bhesikā' the barber: 'Come now, good Bhesikā, go where the Samaṇa Gotama is staying, and, on your arrival, ask in my name as to whether his sickness and indisposition has abated, as to his health and vigour and condition of ease; and speak thus: " May the venerable Gotama, and with him the brethren of the Order, accept the to-morrow's meal from Lohikka the Brahman."'

5. 'Very well, Sir,' said Bhesikā the barber, acquiescing in the word of Lohikka the Brahman, and did so even as he had been enjoined. And the Exalted One consented, by silence, to his request.

6. And when Bhesikā the barber. perceived that the Exalted One had consented, he rose from his scat, and passing the Exalted One with his right hand towards him, went to Lohikka the Brahman, and on his arrival spake to him thus:

'We addressed that Exalted One[10], Sir, in your name, even as you commanded. And the Exalted One hath consented to come.'

[226] 7. Then Lohikka the Brahman, when the night had passed, made ready at his, own dwelling place sweet food, both hard and soft, and said to Bhesikā the barber: 'Come now, good Bhesikā, go where the Samaṇa Gotama is. staying, and on your arrival, announce the time to him, saying: "It is time, O Gotama, and the meal is ready."'

'Very well, Sir," said Bhesikā the barber in assent to the words of Lohikka the Brahman; and did so even as he had been enjoined.

And the Exalted One, who had robed himself early in the early morning, went robed, and carrying his bowl with him, with the brethren of the Order, towards Sālavatikā.

8. Now, as he went, Bhesikā the barber walked, step by step, behind the Exalted One. And he said to him:

'The following wicked opinion has occurred to Lohikka the Brahman: "Suppose that a Samaṇa or a Brahmaṇa have reached up to some good state (of mind), then he should tell no one else about it.' For what can one man do for another? To tell others would be like the man who, having broken through an old bond, should entangle himself in a new one. Like that, I say, is this (desire to declare to others); it is a form of lust." 'Twere well, Sir, if the Exalted One would disabuse his mind thereof. For what can one man do for another?'

'That may well be, Bhesikā, that may well be.'

[227] 9. And the Exalted One went on to the dwelling-place of Lohikka the Brahman, and sat down on the seat prepared for him. And Lohikka the Brahman satisfied the Order, with the Buddha at its head, with his own hand, with sweet food both hard and soft, until they refused any more. And when the Exalted One had finished his meal, and had cleansed the bowl and his hands, Lohikka the Brahman brought a low seat and sat down beside him. And to him, thus seated, the Exalted One spake as follows:

'Is it true, what they say, Lohikka, that the following wicked opinion has arisen in your mind: [and he set forth the opinion as above set forth]

'That is so, Gotama.'

10. 'Now what think you, Lohikka? Are you not established at Sālavatikā?'

'Yes, that is so, Gotama.'

'Then suppose, Lohikka, one were to speak thus:

Lohikka the Brahman has a domain at Sālavatikā. Let him alone enjoy all the revenue and all the produce of Sālavatikā, allowing nothing to anybody else!" Would the utterer of that speech be a danger-maker as touching the men who live in dependence upon you, or not?

'He would be a danger-maker, Gotama.

'And making that danger, would he be a person who sympathised with their welfare, or not?'

'He would not be considering their welfare, Gotama.'

'And not considering their welfare, would his heart stand fast in love toward them, or in enmity?'

'In enmity, Gotama.'

'But when one's heart stands fast in enmity, is that unsound doctrine, or sound?'

'It is unsound doctrine, Gotama.'

'Now if a man hold unsound doctrine, Lohikka, I declare that one of two future births will be his lot, either purgatory or rebirth as an animal.'

[228] 11. 'Now what think you, Lohikka? Is not King Pasenadi of Kosala in possession of Kāsi and Kosala?'

'Yes, that is so, Gotama.'

'Then suppose, Lohikka, one were to speak thus:

King Pasenadi of Kosala is in possession of Kāsi and Kosala. Let him enjoy all the revenue and all the produce of Kāsi and Kosala, allowing nothing to anybody else." Would the utterer of that speech be a danger-maker as touching the men who live in dependence on King Pasenadi of Kosala — both you yourself and others — or not?'

' He would be a danger-maker, Gotama.'

'And making that danger, would he be a person who sympathised with their welfare, or not?'

'He would not be considering their welfare, Gotama.'

'And not considering their welfare, would his heart stand fast in love toward them, or in enmity?!

'In enmity, Gotama.'

'But when one's heart stands fast in enmity, is 'that unsound doctrine, or sound?'

'It is unsound doctrine, Gotama.'

'Now if a man hold unsound doctrine, Lohikka, I declare that one of two future births will be his lot, either purgatory or rebirth as an animal.

12 and 14. 'So then, Lohikka, you admit that he Who should say that you, being in occupation of Sālavatikā, should therefore yourself enjoy all the revenue and produce thereof, bestowing nothing on any one else; and he who should say that King Pasenadi of Kosala, being in power over Kāsi and Kosala, should therefore himself enjoy all the revenue and produce thereof, bestowing nothing on any one else — would be making danger for those living in dependence on you; or for those, you and others, living in dependence upon the King. And that those who thus make danger for others, must be wanting in sympathy for them. And that the man wanting in sympathy has his heart set fast in enmity. And that to have one's heart set fast in enmity is unsound doctrine: --

13 and 15. 'Then just so, Lohikka, he who should say:

"Suppose a Samaṇa or a Brāhmaṇa to have reached up to some good state (of mind), then should he tell no one else about it. For what can one man do for another? To tell others would be like the man who, having broken through an old bond, should entangle himself in a new one. Like that, I say, is this desire to declare to others, it is a form of lust " — [229] just so he, who should say thus, would be putting obstacles in the way of those clansman who, having taken upon themselves the Doctrine and Discipline — set forth by Him-who-has-won-the-Truth, have attained to great distinction therein — to the fruit of conversion, for instance, or to the fruit of once returning, or to the fruit of never returning, or even to Arahatship — he would be putting obstacles in the way of those who are bringing to fruition the course of conduct that will lead to rebirth in states of bliss in heaven[11]. But putting obstacles in their way he would be out of sympathy for their welfare; being out of sympathy for their welfare his heart would become established in enmity; and when one's heart is established in enmity, that is unsound doctrine. Now if a man hold unsound doctrine, Lohikka, I declare that one of two future births will be his lot, either purgatory or rebirth as an animal[12].

[230] 16. 'There are these three sorts of teachers in the world, Lohikka, who are worthy of blame. And whosoever should blame such a one, his rebuke would be justified, in accord with the facts and the truth, not improper. What are the three?

'In the first place, Lohikka, there is a sort of teacher who has not himself attained to that aim of Samaṇaship for the sake of which he left his home and adopted the homeless life. Without having himself attained to it he teaches a doctrine (Dhamma) to his hearers, saying: "This is good for you, this will make you happy. Then those hearers of his neither listen to him, nor give ear to his words, nor become stedfast in heart through their knowledge thereof; they go their own way, apart from the teaching, of the master. Such a teacher may be rebuked, setting out these facts, and adding:" You are like one who should make advances to her who keeps repulsing him, or should embrace her who turns her face away from him. Like that, do I say, is this lust of yours (to go on posing as a teacher of men, no one heeding, since they trust you not). For what, then, can one man do for another?

'This, Lohikka, is the first sort of teacher in the world worthy of blame. And whosoever should blame such a one, his rebuke would be justified, in accord with the facts and the truth, not improper.'

17. 'In the second place, Lohikka, there is a sort of teacher who has not himself attained to that aim of Samaṇaship for the sake of which he left his home and adopted the homeless life. Without having himself attained to it he teaches a doctrine to his hearers, saying: "This is good for you; that will make you happy." And to him his disciples listen; [231] they give ear to his words; they become stedfast in heart by their understanding what is said; and they go not their own way, apart from the teaching of the master. Such a teacher may be rebuked, setting out these facts and adding: "You are like a man who, neglecting his own field, should take thought to weed out his neighbour's field. Like that, do I say, is this lust of yours (to go on teaching others when you have not taught yourself). For what, then, can one man do for another?"

'This, Lohikka, is the second sort of teacher in the world worthy of blame. And whosoever should blame such a one, his rebuke would be justified, in accord with the facts and the truth, not improper.

18. 'And again, Lohikka, in the third place, there is a sort of teacher who has himself attained to that aim of Samaṇaship for the sake of which he left his home and adopted the homeless life. Having himself attained it, he teaches the doctrine to his hearers, saying: "This is good for you, that will make you happy." But those hearers of his neither listen to him, nor give ear to his words, nor become stedfast in heart through understanding thereof; they go their own way, apart from the teaching of the master. Such a teacher may be rebuked, setting out these facts, and adding: "You are like a man who, having broken through an old bond, should entangle himself in a new one. Like that, do I say, is this lust of yours (to go on teaching when you have not trained yourself to teach). For what, then, can one man do for another?

' This, Lohikka, is the third sort of teacher in the world worthy of blame. And whosoever should blame such a one, his rebuke would be justified, in accord with the facts and the truth, not improper. And these, Lohikka, are the three sorts of teachers of which I spoke.'

[232, 233] 19. And when he had thus spoken, Lohikka the Brahman spake thus to the Exalted One:

'But is there, Gotama, any sort of teacher not worthy of blame in the world?'

'Yes, Lohikka, there is a teacher not worthy, in the world, of blame.'

'And what sort of a teacher, Gotama, is so?'

[The answer is in the words of the exposition set out above in the Sāmañña-phala, as follows: --
1. The appearance of a Tathāgata (one who won the truth), his preaching, the conversion of a hearer, his adoption of the homeless state. (Above,, pp. 78, 79.)
2. The minor details of mere morality that he practises. (Above, pp. 57, 58.)
3. The Confidence of heart he gains from this practice. (Above, p. 79.)
4. The paragraph on 'Guarded is the door of his Senses.' (Above, pp. 79, 80.)
5. The paragraph on 'Mindful and Self-possessed.' (Above, pp. 80, 81.)
6. The paragraph on Simplicity of life, being content with little. (Above, p. 81.)
7. The paragraphs on Emancipation from the Five Hindrances-covetousness, ill-temper, laziness, worry, and perplexity. (Above, pp. 82-84.)
8. The paragraph on the joy and Peace that, as a result of this emancipation, fills his whole being. (Above, p. 84.)
9. The paragraphs on the Four Raptures (Jhānas). (Above, pp. 84-86.)
10. The paragraphs on the Insight arising from Knowledge (the knowledge of the First Path). (Above, pp. 86, 87.)
11. The paragraphs on the Realisation of the Four Noble Truths, the destruction of the Intoxications-lust, delusions, becomings, and ignorance-and the attainment of Arahatship. (Above, pp. 92, 93.)
The refrain throughout and the closing paragraph is:]

'And whosoever the teacher be, Lohikka, under whom the disciple attains to distinction so excellent as that[13], that, Lohikka, is a teacher not open to blame in the world. And whosoever should blame such a one, his rebuke would be unjustifiable, not in accord either with the facts or with the truth, without good ground.'

[234] 78. And when he had thus spoken, Lohikka the Brahman said to the Exalted One :

'Just, Gotama, as if a man had caught hold of a man, falling over the precipitous edge of purgatory, by the hair of his head, and lifted him up safe back on the firm land — just so have I, on the point of falling into purgatory, been lifted back on to the land by the venerable Gotama. Most excellent, O Gotama, are the words of thy mouth, most excellent! Just as if a man were to set up what has been thrown down, or were to reveal what has been hidden away, or were to point out the right road to him who has gone astray, or were to bring a light into the darkness so that those who had eyes could see external forms — just even so has the truth been made known to me, in many a figure, by the venerable Gotama. And I, even I, betake myself to the venerable Gotama as my guide, to the Doctrine, and to the Order. May the venerable Gotama accept me as a disciple; as one who, from this day forth as long as life endures, has taken him as his guide!'

 

HERE ENDS THE LOHICCA SUTTANTA

 


[1]Commentary on the Vedānta-Sūtras I, 3, 38.

[2]Manu 1, 88.

[3]Ibid. IX, 317, 319.

[4]Ibid. XI, 85.

[5]Baines, 'General Report on the Census of 1891, pp. 190, 202. The census shows that out of 261 millions only fifteen millions could read or write. On this striking fact Mr. Baines comments (p. 211) 'The second influence antagonistic to a more general spread of literacy is the long continued existence of a hereditary class whose object it has been to maintain their own monopoly of book learning as the chief buttress of their social supremacy. The opposition of the Brahmins to the rise of the writer class has been already mentioned; and the repugnance of both, in the present day, to the diffusion of learning amongst the masses, can only be appreciated after long experience.

[6]'Revue Critique,' June, 1873, translated by Dr. Muir in the Indian Antiquary,' 1874 .

[7]This is, I think, a local name; the name of the place from which he had come. If that be so, the better rendering throughout would be the Lohikka Brahman.'

[8]See above, pp. 108, 144.

[9]This is open to two interpretations: 'What can the teacher gain from a disciple?' or 'What can a disciple gain from a teacher?' 'Why should you trouble about others? they cannot help you!' or 'Why should you trouble about others? you cannot help them!' But in either case the implied ground of the argument is the proposition that a man's rise or fall, progress or defeat, in intellectual and religious matters, lies in himself. He must work out his own salvation.

[10]It is clear from this expression that Bhesikā was already a follower of the new teaching.

[11]Literally 'Who are making. heavenly embryos ripe for rebirth in heavenly states.'

[12]Paragraphs (12, 13 are repeated of the case put about Pasenadi, king of Kosala. In the translation both cases are included at the beginning of § 12.

[13]Ulāraṃ visesaṃ adhigacchati. See for instance Saŋyutta V, 15 4, 5.


 [Contents ]   [Preface ]   [#1. Brahma-gāla Suttanta: ]   [#2. Sāmañña-phala Suttanta: ]   [#3. The Ambaṭṭha Suttanta: ]   [#4. The Soṇadaṇḍa Suttanta: ]   [#5. The Kūṭadanta Suttanta: ]   [#6. The Mahāli Suttanta: ]   [#7. Gāliva Suttanta: ]   [#8. Kassapa-Sīhanāda Suttanta: ]   [#9. The Poṭṭhapāda Suttanta: ]   [#10. Subha Suttanta: ]   [#11. Kevaddha Suttanta: ]   [#12. Lohikka Suttanta: ]   [#13. Tevigga Suttanta:


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