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Sacred Books of the Buddhists
Volume II

Dīgha Nikāya

Dialogues of the Buddha
Part I

Sutta 13

Tevijja Suttantaɱ

On Knowledge of the Vedas

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
Tevijja Sutta

.

This is the only Suttanta, among the thirteen translated in this volume, in which the discourse does not lead up to Arahatship. It leads up only to the so-called Brahma Vihāras — the supreme conditions — four states of mind held to result, after death, in a rebirth in the heavenly worlds of Brahmā. Why is it — the Buddhist ideal being Arahatship, which leads to no rebirth at all — that this lower ideal is thus suddenly introduced?

It would seem that the particular point here discussed was regarded as so important that it could scarcely be left out. And when we recollect that the highest teaching current before the Buddha, and still preserved in the pre-Buddhistic Upanishads, was precisely about union with Brahmā; we may, without much danger of error, explain the position occupied in the series of dialogues by this Suttanta by the supposition that it was deliberately inserted here as the Buddhist answer to the Upanishad theory. In this respect it is noteworthy that the neuter Brahman is quietly ignored. That is quite in accordance with the method of the Suttantas. The Buddha is in them often represented as using, in his own sense, words familiar to his interlocutors in a different sense. The neuter Brahman is, so far as I am aware, entirely unknown in the Nikāyas, and of course the Buddha's idea of Brahmā, in the masculine, really differs widely from that of the Upanishads.

There is nothing original in the Buddhist belief that a man's habit of mind at the time of his death would determine, save only in the one case of the Arahat, the nature of his rebirth. It is an Indian — not an exclusively Buddhist theory. The Buddhist texts represent it as held by non-Buddhists, and already long before. the Buddha's time, and as accepted by all as a matter of course. And it is even not exclusively Indian. As I have pointed out elsewhere, it is ascribed by Plato to Socrates[1]. The essentially Buddhist parts of the theory are three. In the first place, the choice of the particular details they held essential to such a habit of mind as would lead to rebirth in the Brahmā-worlds ; secondly, their doctrine that there was not really any 'soul' to be reborn ; and thirdly, that the highest ideal was not to be reborn at all (even only once, and into union with Brahmā).

The Jātaka commentary in numerous passages states that the four Brahma vihāras were practised, long before the time of the rise of Buddhism, by the sages of old. I have not found such a statement in the Nikāyas; and it is most probable therefore that the Jātaka commentator is ante-dating the particular meditations in question. However this may be, they remained, throughout the long history of Buddhism, an essential part of Buddhist practice. They are even mentioned in the Jātaka Mālā, a work usually supposed to be Mahāyānist, and dated about a thousand years later than the Buddha[2]. They are well known to-day in Burma, Siam, and Ceylon. And it would be interesting to know whether they still form a part of the regulated meditations which are known to be practised by Buddhists in Thibet, China, and Japan. But they have not been found in any Indian book not a Buddhist work, and are therefore almost certainly exclusively Buddhist. Even the most determined anti-Buddhist must admit the beauty of the language (in spite of its repetitions §§ 76-78), the subtle depth of the ideas, and the great value of the practice from the point of view of ethical self-training. He would probably rejoin, and with truth, that similar sentiments are met with in other (post-Buddhistic) Indian books. But it is one thing to give expression in isolated passages to such views, and quite another to have selected just these four as the four cornerstones of habitual endeavour.

It should be recollected that the argument here is only an argumettium ad hominem. If you want union with Brahmā — which you had much better not want — this is the way to attain to it[3].

 


 

XIII. Tevijja Sutta

On Knowledge Of The Vedas[4]

[1][bs] THUS HAVE I HEARD. When the Exalted One was once journeying through Kosala with a great company of the brethren, with about five hundred brethren, he came to the Brahman village in Kosala which is called Manasākaṭa. And there at Manasākaṭa the Exalted One stayed in the mango grove, on the bank of the river Akiravatī, to the north of Manasākaṭa.

2. Now at that time many very distinguished and wealthy Brahmans were staying at Manasākaṭa; to wit, Kaŋkī the Brahman, Tārukkha the Brahman, Pokkharasādi the Brahman, Jāṇussoṇi the Brahman, Todeyya the Brahman, and other very distinguished and wealthy Brahmans[5].

3. Now a conversation sprung up between Vāseṭṭha and Bhāradvāja, when they were taking exercise (after their bath) and walking up and down, in thoughtful mood, as to which was the true path, and which the false[6].

4. The young Brahman Vāseṭṭha spake thus:

'This is the straight path, this the direct way which makes for salvation, and leads him, who acts according to it, into a state of union with Brahmā. I mean that which has been announced by the Brahman Pokkharasādi.'

5. The young Brahman Bhāradvāja spake thus:

'This is the straight path, this the direct way which makes for salvation, and leads him, who acts according to it, into a state of union with Brahmā. I mean that which has been announced by the Brahman Tārukkha.'

6. But neither was the young Brahman Vāseṭṭha able to convince the young Brahman Bhāradvāja, nor was the young Brahman Bhāradvāja able to convince the young Brahman Vāseṭṭha.

7. Then the young Brahman Vāseṭṭha said to the young Brahman Bhāradvāja:

'That Samaṇa Gotama, Bhāradvāja, of the sons of the Sākyas, who went out from the Sākya clan to adopt the religious life, is now staying at Manasākaṭa, in the mango grove, on the bank of the river Aciravatī, to the north of Manasākaṭa. Now regarding that venerable Gotama, such is the high reputation that has been noised abroad: "That Exalted One is an Arahat, a fully enlightened one, abounding in wisdom and goodness, happy, with knowledge of the worlds, unsurpassed as a guide to mortals willing to be led, a teacher of gods and men, an Exalted One, a Buddha."

Come, then, Bhāradvāja, let us go to the place where the Samaṇa Gotama is; and when we have come there, let us ask the Samaṇa Gotama touching this matter. What the Samaṇa Gotama shall declare unto us, that let us bear in mind[7].

'Very well, my friend!' said the young Brahman Bhāradvāja, in assent, to the young Brahman Vāseṭṭha.

8. Then the young Brahman Vāseṭṭha and the young Brahman Bhāradvāja went on to the place where the Exalted One was.

And when they had come there, they exchanged with the Exalted One the greetings and compliments of politeness and courtesy, and sat down beside him.

And while they were thus seated the young Brahman Vāseṭṭha said to the Exalted One:

'As we, Gotama, were taking exercise and walking up and down, there sprung up a conversation between us on which was the true path, and which the false. I said thus:

"'This is the straight path, this the direct way which makes for salvation, and leads him, who acts according to it, into a state of union with Brahmā. I mean that which has been announced by the Brahman Pokkharasādi."'

'Bhāradvāja said thus:

"This is the straight path, this the direct way which makes for salvation, and leads him, who acts according to it, into a state of union with Brahmā. I mean that which has been announced by the Brahman Tārukkha."'

'Regarding this matter, Gotama, there is a strife, a dispute, a difference of opinion between us.'

9. 'So you say, Vāseṭṭha, that you said thus:

This is the straight path, this the direct way which makes for salvation, and leads him, who acts according to it, into a state of union with Brahmā. I mean that which has been announced by the Brahman Pokkharasādi." '

'While Bhāradvāja said thus:

' "This is the straight path, this the direct way which makes for salvation, and leads him, who acts according to it, into a state of union with Brahmā. I mean that which has been announced by the Brahman Tārukkha."'

'Wherein, then, O Vāseṭṭha, is there a strife, a dispute, a difference of opinion between you[8]?'

10. 'Concerning the true path and the false, Gotama. Various Brahmans, Gotama, teach various paths. The Addhariyā Brahmans, the Tittiriyā Brahmans, the Chandokā Brahmans [the Chandavā Brahmans], the Bavharijā Brahmans[9]. Are all those saving paths? Are they all paths which will lead him, who acts according to them, into a state of union with Brahmā?

'Just, Gotama, as near a village or a town there are many and various paths[10], yet they all meet together in the village — just in that way are all the various paths taught by various Brahmans — the Addhariyā Brahmans, the Tittiriyā Brahmans, the Chandokā, Brahmans [the Chandavā Brahmans], the Bavharijā Brahmans. Are all these saving paths? Are they all paths which will lead him, who acts according to them, into a state of union with Brahmā?'

11. 'Do you say that they all lead aright, Vāseṭṭha?'

'I say so, Gotama.'

'Do you really say that they all lead aright, Vāseṭṭha?

'So I say, Gotama.'

12. 'But yet, Vāseṭṭha, is there a single one of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas, who has ever seen Brahmā, face-to-face

'No, indeed, Gotama.'

'Or is there then, Vāseṭṭha, a single one of the teachers of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas who has seen Brahmā face-to-face

'No, indeed, Gotama!'

'Or is there then, Vāseṭṭha, a single one of the pupils of the teachers of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas who has seen Brahmā face-to-face 'No, indeed, Gotama!'

'Or is there then, Vāseṭṭha, a single one of the Brahmans up to the seventh generation who has seen Brahmā face-to-face?'

'No, indeed, Gotama!'

13. 'Well then, Vāseṭṭha, those ancient Rishis of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas, the authors of the verses, the utterers of the verses, whose, ancient form of words so chanted, uttered, or composed, the Brahmans of to-day chant over again or repeat; intoning or reciting exactly as has been intoned or recited-to wit, Aṭṭhaka, Vāmaka, Vāmadeva, Vessāmitta, Yamataggi, Aŋgirasa, Bhāradvāja, Vāseṭṭha, Kassapa, and Bhagu[11] — did even they speak thus, saying: " We know it, we have seen it, where Brahmā is whence Brahmā is, whither Brahmā is?

Not so, Gotama!'

14. 'Then you say, Vāseṭṭha that none of the Brahmans, or of their teachers, or of their pupils, even up to the seventh generation, has ever seen Brahmā face-to-face. And that even the Rishis of old, the authors and utterers of the verses, of the ancient form of words which the Brahmans of to-day so carefully intone and recite precisely as they have been handed down-even they did not pretend to know or to have seen where or whence or whither Brahmā is[12]. So that the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas have forsooth said thus: "What we know not, what we have not seen, 'to a state of union with that we can show the way, and can say: 'This Is the straight path, this is the direct way which makes for salvation, and leads him, who acts according to it, into a state of union with Brahmā!

'Now' what think you, Vāseṭṭha? Does it not follow, this being so, that the talk of the Brahmans, versed though they be in the Three Vedas, turns out to be foolish talk

In sooth, Gotama, that being, so, it follows that the talk of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas is foolish talk!'

15. 'Verily, Vāseṭṭha, that Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas should be able to show the way to a state of union with that which they do not know, neither have seen-such a condition of things can in no wise be!

'Just, Vāseṭṭha, as when a string of blind men are clinging one to the other[13], neither can the foremost see, nor can the middle one see, nor can the hindmost see — just even so, methinks, Vāseṭṭha, is the talk of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas but blind talk: the first sees not, the middle one sees not, nor can the latest see. The talk then of these Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas turns out to be ridiculous, mere words, a vain and empty thing!'

16. 'Now what think you, Vāseṭṭha? Can the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas — like other, ordinary, folk — see the Moon and the Sun as they pray to, and praise, and worship them, turning round with clasped hands towards the place whence they rise and where they set?'

'Certainly, Gotama, they can[14]'.

17. 'Now what think you, Vāseṭṭha? The Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas, who can very well — like other, ordinary, folk — see the Moon and the Sun as they pray to, and praise, and worship them, turning round with clasped hands to the place whence they rise and where they set — are those Brahmans, versed in the Three Vedas, able to point out the way to a state of union with the Moon or the Sun, saying: " This is the straight path, this the direct way which makes for salvation, and leads him, who acts according to it, to a state of union with the Moon or the Sun?

'Certainly, not, Gotama !'

18. 'So you say, Vāseṭṭha, that the Brahmans are not able to point out the way to union with that which they have seen, and you further say that neither any one of them, nor of their pupils, nor of their predecessors even to the seventh generation has ever seen Brahmā, And you further say that even the Rishis of old, whose words they hold in such deep respect, did not pretend to know, or to have seen where, or whence, or whither Brahmā is. Yet these Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas say, forsooth, that they can point out the way to union with that which they know not, neither have seen[15]. Now what think you, Vāseṭṭha? Does it not follow that, this being so, the talk of the Brahmans, versed though they be in the Three Vedas, turns out to be foolish talk?'

' In sooth, Gotama, that being so, it follows that the talk of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas is foolish talk!'

19. 'Very good, Vāseṭṭha. Verily then, Vāseṭṭha, that Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas should be able to show the way to a state of union with that which they do not know, neither have seen-such a condition of things can in no wise be!'

'Just, Vāseṭṭha, as if a man should say, "How I long for, how I love the most beautiful woman in this land!"

'And people should ask him, "Well! good friend! this most beautiful woman in the land, whom you thus love and long for, do you know whether that beautiful woman is a noble lady or a Brahman woman, or of the trader class, or a Sūdra?

'But when so asked, he should answer: "No."

'And when people should ask him, " Well! good friend! this most beautiful woman in all the land, whom you so love and long for, do you know what the name of that most beautiful woman is, or what is her family name, whether she be tall or short or of medium height, dark or brunette or golden in colour, or in what village or town or city she dwells?

'But when so asked, he should answer: No."

'And then people should say to him, So then, good friend, whom you know not, neither have seen, her do you love and long for?

'And then when so asked, he should answer: "Yes."

'Now what think you, Vāseṭṭha? Would it not turn out, that being so, that the talk of that man was foolish talk?'

In sooth, Gotama, it would turn out, that being so, that the talk of that man was foolish talk!'

20. 'And just even so, Vāseṭṭha though you say that the Brahmans are not able to point out the way to union with that which they have seen, and you further say that neither any one of them, nor of their pupils, nor of their predecessors even to the seventh generation has ever seen Brahmā. And you further say that even the Rishis of old, whose words they hold in such deep respect, did not pretend to know, or to have seen where, or whence, or whither Brahmā is. Yet these Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas say, forsooth, that they can point out the way to union with that which they know not, neither have seen Now what think you, Vāseṭṭha? Does it not follow that, this being so, the talk of the Brahmans, versed though they be in the Three Vedas, is foolish talk?'

' In sooth, Gotama, that being so, it follows that the talk of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas is foolish talk!'

'Very good, Vāseṭṭha. Verily then, Vāseṭṭha, that Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas should be able to show the way to a state of union with that which they do not know, neither have seen — such a condition of things can in no wise be.'

21. 'Just, Vāseṭṭha, as if a man should make a staircase in the place where four roads cross, to mount up into a mansion. And people should say to him, "Well, good friend, this mansion, to mount up into which you are making this staircase, do you know whether it is in the east, or in the south, or in the west, or in the north? whether it is high or low or of medium size?

'And when so asked, he should answer: "No."

'And people should say to him, "But then, good friend, you are making a staircase to mount up into something — taking it for a mansion — which, all the while, you know not, neither have seen!"

'And when so asked, he should answer: "Yes."

'Now what think you, Vāseṭṭha? Would it not turn out. that being so, that the talk of that man was foolish talk?'

'In sooth, Gotama, it would turn out, that being so, that the talk of that man was foolish talk!'

22. 'And just even so, Vāseṭṭha, though you say that the Brahmans are not able to point out the way to union with that which they have seen, and you further say that neither any one of them, nor of their pupils, nor of their predecessors even to the seventh generation has ever seen Brahmā. And you further say that even the Rishis of old, whose words they hold in such deep respect, did not pretend to know, or to have seen where, or whence, or whither Brahmā is. Yet these Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas say, forsooth, that they can point out the way to union with that which they know not, neither have seen! Now what think you, Vāseṭṭha? Does it not follow that, this being so, the talk of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas is foolish talk?'

'In sooth, Gotama, that being so, it follows that the talk of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas is foolish talk!'

23. 'Very good, Vāseṭṭha. Verily then, Vāseṭṭha, that Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas should be able to show the way to a state of union with that which they do not know, neither have seen-such a condition of things can in no wise be.'

24. 'Again, Vāseṭṭha, if this river Aciravatī were full of water even to the brim, and over flowing[16]. And a man with business on the other side, bound for the other side, making, for the other side, should come up, and want to cross over. And he, standing on this bank, should invoke the further bank, and say, "Come hither, O further bank! come over to this side!"

' Now what think you, Vāseṭṭha? Would the further bank of the river Aciravatī, by reason of that man's invoking and praying and hoping and praising, come over to this side?'

'Certainly not, Gotama!'

25. 'In just the same way, Vāseṭṭha, do the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas, — omitting the practice of those qualities which really make a man a Brahman, and adopting the practice of those qualities which really make men non-Brahmans — say thus: "Indra we call upon, Soma we call upon, Varuṇa we call upon, Īsāna we call upon, Pajāpati we call upon, Brahmā we call upon, [Mahiddhi we call upon, Yama we call upon[17]]!" Verily, Vāseṭṭha, that those Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas, but omitting the practice of those qualities which really make a man a Brahman, and adopting the practice of those qualities which really make men non-Brahmans — that they, by reason of their invoking and praying and hoping and praising, should, after death and when the body is dissolved, become united with Brahmā verily such a condition of things can in no wise be[18]!'

26. 'Just, Vāseṭṭha, as if this river Aciravatī were full, even to the brim, and overflowing. And a man with business on the other side, making for the other side, bound for the other side, should come up, and want to cross over. And he, on this bank, were to be bound tightly, with his arms behind his back, by a strong chain. Now what think you, Vāseṭṭha, would that man be able to get over from this bank of the river Aciravatī to the further bank

'Certainly not, Gotama!'

27. 'In the same way, Vāseṭṭha, there are five things leading to lust, which are called, in the Discipline of the Arahats, a "chain" and a "bond."'

'What are the five?'

'Forms perceptible to the eye; desirable, agreeable, pleasant, attractive forms, that are accompanied by lust and cause delight. Sounds of the same kind perceptible to the ear. Odours of the same kind perceptible to the nose. Tastes of the same kind perceptible to the tongue. Substances of the same kind perceptible to the body by touch. These five things predisposing to passion are called, in the Discipline of the Arahats, a "chain" and a "bond." And these five things predisposing to lust, Vāseṭṭha, do the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas cling to, they are infatuated by them, attached to them, see not the dancer of them, know not how unreliable they are, and so enjoy them[19]'.

28. 'And verily, Vāseṭṭha, that Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas, but omitting the practice of those qualities which really make a man a Brahman, and adopting the practice of those qualities which really make men non-Brahmans-clinging to these five things predisposing to passion, infatuated by them, attached to them, see not their danger, knowing not their unreliability, and so enjoying them — that these Brahmans should after death, on the dissolution of the body, become united to Brahmā, — such a condition of things can in no wise be!'

29. 'Again, Vāseṭṭha, if this river Aciravatī were full of water even to the brim, and overflowing. And a man with business on the other side, making for the other side, bound for the other side, should come up, and want to cross over. And if he covering himself up, even to his head, were to lie down, on this bank, to sleep.

'Now what think you, Vāseṭṭha? Would that man be able to get over from this bank of the river Aciravatī to the further bank?'

'Certainly not, Gotama!'

30. 'And in the same way, Vāseṭṭha, there are these Five Hindrances, in the Discipline of, the Arahats[20], which are called "veils," and are called "hindrances," and are called "obstacles," and are called "entanglements."

'Which are the five?'

'The hindrance of worldly lusts,
The hindrance of ill will,
The hindrance of torpor and sloth of heart and mind.
The hindrance of flurry and worry,
The hindrance of suspense.'

'These are the Five Hindrances, Vāseṭṭha, which, in the Discipline of the Arahats, are called veils, and are called hindrances, and are called obstacles and are called entanglements[21].

'Now with these Five Hindrances, Vāseṭṭha, the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas are veiled, hindered, obstructed, and entangled.

'And verily, Vāseṭṭha, that Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas, but omitting the practice of those qualities which really make a man a Brahman, and adopting the practice of those qualities which really make men non-Brahmans — veiled, hindered, obstructed, and entangled by these Five Hindrances — that these Brahmans should after death, on the dissolution of the body, become united to Brahmā — such a condition of things can in no wise be!'

31. 'Now what think you, Vāseṭṭha, and what have you heard from the Brahmans aged and well-stricken in years, when the learners and teachers are talking together? Is Brahmā, in possession of wives and wealth, or is he not[22]?'

'He is not, Gotama.'

'Is his mind full of anger, or free from anger?'

'Free from anger, Gotama.'

Is his mind full of malice, or free from malice?'

'Free from malice, Gotama.'

'Is his mind tarnished, or, is it pure[23]?'

'It is pure, Gotama.'

Has he self-mastery, or has he not[24]?

'He has, Gotama.'

32. 'Now what think you, Vāseṭṭha, are the Brahmans versed in the Vedas in the possession of wives and wealth, or are they not?'

'They are, Gotama.'

'Have they anger in their hearts, or have they not?

'They have, Gotama.'

'Do they bear malice, or do they not?'

'They do, Gotama.'

'Are they pure in heart, or are they not?'

'They are not, Gotama.'

'Have they self-mastery, or have they not?'

'They have not, Gotama.'

33. 'Then you say, Vāseṭṭha, that the Brahmans are in possession of wives and wealth, and that Brahmā is not. Can there, then, be agreement and likeness between the Brahmans with their wives and property, and Brahmā, who has none of these things?'

'Certainly not, Gotama!'

34. 'Very good, Vāseṭṭha. But, verily, that these Brahmans versed in the Vedas, who live married and wealthy, should after death, when the body is dissolved, become united with Brahmā, who has none of these things — such a condition of things can in no wise be!'

35. 'Then you say, too, Vāseṭṭha, that the Brahmans bear anger and malice in their hearts, and are tarnished in heart and uncontrolled, whilst Brahmā is free from anger and malice, pure in heart, and has self-mastery. Now can there, then, be concord and likeness between the Brahmans and Brahmā?'

'Certainly not, Gotama!'

36. 'Very good, Vāseṭṭha. That these Brahmans versed in the Vedas and yet bearing anger and malice in their hearts, sinful, and uncontrolled, should after death, when the body is dissolved, become united to Brahmā, who is free from anger and malice, pure in heart, and has self-mastery — such a condition of things can in no wise be!

'So that thus then, Vāseṭṭha, the Brahmans, versed though they be in the Three Vedas, while they sit down (in confidence), are sinking down (in the mire)[25]; and so sinking they are arriving only at despair, thinking the while that they are crossing over into some happier land.

'Therefore is it that the threefold wisdom of the Brahmans, wise in their Three Vedas, is called a waterless desert, their threefold wisdom is called a pathless jungle, their threefold wisdom is called perdition!

37. When he had thus spoken, the young Brahman Vāseṭṭha said to the Blessed One:

'It has been told me, Gotama, that the Samaṇa Gotama knows the way to the state of union with Brahmā.'

'What do you think, Vāseṭṭha, is not Manasākaṭa near to this spot, not distant from this spot

'Just so, Gotama. Manasākaṭa is near to, is not far from here.'

'Now what think you, Vāseṭṭha, suppose there were a man born in Manasākaṭa, and people should ask him, who never till that time had left Manasākaṭa, which was the way to Manasākaṭa. Would that man, born and brought up in Manasākaṭa, be in any doubt or difficulty?'

' Certainly not, Gotama! And why? If the man had been born and brought up in Manasākaṭa, every road that leads to Manasākaṭa would be perfectly familiar to him.'

38. 'That man, Vāseṭṭha, born and brought up at Manasākaṭa might, if he were asked the way to Manasākaṭa, fall into doubt and difficulty, but to the Tathāgata, when asked touching the path which leads to the world of Brahmā, there can be neither doubt nor difficulty. For Brahmā, I know, Vāseṭṭha, and the world of Brahmā, and the path which leadeth unto it. Yea, I know it even as one who has entered the Brahmā-world, and has been born within it!'

39. When he had thus spoken, Vāseṭṭha, the young Brahman, said to the Blessed One:

'Just so has it been told me, Gotama, even that the Samaṇa Gotama knows the way to a state of union with Brahmā. It is well! Let the venerable Gotama be pleased to show us the way to a state of union with Brahmā, let the venerable Gotama save the Brahman race'[26]!

'Listen then, Vāseṭṭha, and give ear attentively, and I will speak!'

'So be it, Lord!' said the young Brahman Vāseṭṭha, in assent, to the Blessed One.

40. Then the Blessed One spake, and said:

Know, Vāseṭṭha, that (from time to time) a Tathāgata is born into the world, an Arahat, a fully awakened one, abounding, in wisdom and goodness, happy, with knowledge of the worlds, unsurpassed as a guide to mortals willing to be led, a teacher of gods and men, a Blessed One, a Buddha. He, by himself, thoroughly understands, and sees, as it were, face-to-face this universe — including the worlds above with the gods, the Māras, and the Brahmās; and the world below with its Samaṇas and Brahmans, its princes and peoples; — and he then makes his knowledge known to others. The truth doth he proclaim both in the letter and in the spirit, lovely in its origin, lovely in its progress, lovely in its consummation: the higher life doth he make known, in all its purity and in all its perfectness.

41. 'A householder (gahapati), or one of his children, or a man of inferior birth in any class, listens to that truth[27]. On hearing the truth he has faith in the Tathāgata, and when he has acquired that faith he thus considers with himself:

"Full of hindrances is household life, a path defiled by passion : free as the air is the life of him who has renounced all worldly things. How difficult it is for the man who dwells at home to live the higher life in all its fullness, in all its purity, in all its bright perfection! Let me then cut off my hair and beard, let me clothe myself in the orange-coloured robes, and let me go forth from a household life into the homeless state.

'Then before long, forsaking his portion of wealth, be it great or be it small; forsaking his circle of relatives, be they many or be they few, he cuts off his hair and beard, he clothes himself in the orange — coloured robes. and he goes forth from the household life into the homeless state.

42. 'When he has thus become a recluse he passes a life self-restrained by that restraint which should be binding on a recluse. Uprightness is his delight, and he sees danger in the least of those things he should avoid. He adopts and trains himself in the precepts. He encompasses himself with goodness in word and deed. He sustains his life by means that are quite pure; good is his conduct, guarded the door of his senses; mindful and self-possessed, he is altogether happy!'

43-75. 'And how, Vāseṭṭha, is his conduct good?'

[The answer is set forth in the words of the tract on the Sīlas, translated above, pp. 3-26, but with the refrain as in the Sāmañña-phala Suttanta above, p.79. Then follow §§ 63-75, inclusive, of the Sāmañña-phala; setting forth: --

1. The confidence of heart that results from the sense of goodness.
2. The way in which he guards the doors of his senses.
3. The way in which he is mindful and self-possessed.
4. His habit of being content with little, of adopting simplicity of life.
5. His conquest of the Five Hindrances, eachwith the explanatory simile.
6. The joy and peace which, as a result of this conquest, fills his whole being.]

76.[28]'And he lets his mind pervade one quarter of the world with thoughts of Love, and so the second, and so the third, and so the fourth. And thus the whole wide world, above, below, around, and everywhere, does he continue to pervade with heart of Love, far-reaching, grown great, and beyond measure.

77. 'Just, Vāseṭṭha, as a mighty trumpeter makes himself heard-and that without difficulty-in all the four directions; even so of all things that have shape or life, there is not one that he passes by or leaves aside, but regards them all with mind set free, and deep-felt love.

'Verily this, Vāseṭṭha, is the way to a state of union with Brahmā.

78. 'And he lets his mind pervade one quarter of the world with thoughts of pity[29], ... sympathy[30], equanimity[31], and so the second, and so the third, and so the fourth. And thus the whole wide world, above, below, around, and everywhere, does he continue to pervade with heart of pity. . . . sympathy, . . . equanimity, far-reaching, grown great, and beyond measure.

79. 'Just, Vāseṭṭha, as a mighty trumpeter makes himself heard — and that without difficulty — in all the four directions ; even so of all things that have shape or life, there is not one that he passes by or leaves aside, but regards them all with mind set free, and deep-felt pity, ... sympathy, ... equanimity.

'Verily this, Vāseṭṭha, is the way to a state of union with Brahmā.'

80. 'Now what think you, Vāseṭṭha, will the Bhikkhu who lives thus be in possession of women and of wealth, or will he not?'

'He will not, Gotama!'

'Will he be full of anger, or free from anger?'

'He will be free from anger, Gotama!'

'Will his mind be full of malice, or free from malice?'

'Free from malice, Gotama!'

'Will his mind be tarnished, or pure?'

'It will be pure, Gotama!'

'Will he have self-mastery, or will he not?'

'Surely he will, Gotama!'

81 'Then you say, Vāseṭṭha, that the Bhikkhu is free from household and worldly cares, and that Brahmā is free from household and worldly cares. Is therethen agreement and likeness between the Bhikkhu and Brahmā?'

'There is, Gotama!

Very good, Vāseṭṭha. Then in sooth, Vāseṭṭha, that the Bhikkhu who is free from household cares should after death, when the body is dissolved, become united with Brahmā, who is the same — such a condition of things is every way possible!

'And so you say, Vāseṭṭha, that the Bhikkhu is free from anger, and free from malice, pure in mind, and master of himself; and that Brahmā is free from anger, and free from malice, pure in mind, and master of himself. Then in sooth, Vāseṭṭha, that the Bhikkhu who is free from anger, free from malice, pure in mind, and master of himself should after death, when the body is dissolved, become united with Brahmā, who is the same-such a condition of things is every way possible!'

82. When he hid thus spoken, the young. Brahmans Vāseṭṭha and Bhāradvāja addressed the Blessed One, and said:

'Most excellent, Lord, are the words of thy mouth, Most excellent! Just as if a man were to set up that which is thrown down, or were to reveal that which is hidden away, or were to point out the right road to him who has gone astray, or were to bring a lamp into the darkness, so that those who have eyes can see external forms; — just even so, Lord, has the truth been made known to us, in many a figure, by the Exalted One. And we, even we, betake ourselves, Lord, to the Blessed One as our guide, to the Truth, and to the Brotherhood. May the Blessed One accept us as disciples, as true believers, from this day forth, as long as life endures!'

 

HERE ENDS THE TEVIJJA SUTTANTA[32].

 


[1]Phaedo 69. The full context is given in my 'Hibbert Lectures,' Appendix viii.

[2]In the well-known story of the Bodhisattva giving his body to feed a tigress (No. I, verse 12).

[3]See the remarks above on p. 206.

[4]This Suttanta was translated from the MSS. in my 'Buddhist Suttas ' (S. B. E., 1881). Since then the text has been published by the Pāli Text Society; and alterations and amendments in a number of details have been rendered necessary.

[5] Buddhaghosa says that Kaŋkī lived at Opasāda, Tārukkha lived at Icchagala (so MSS., perhaps for Icchānangala), Pokkharasādi (sic MS.)lived at Ukkaṭṭha, Jāṇussoṇi lived at Sāvatthi, and Todeyya lived at Tudigama.

Jāṇussoṇi was converted by the Bhaya-bherava Sutta. On Pokkharasādi, see above, pp. 108, 135, 147; and on Todeyya, see above, p. 267; and on all the names, see Majjhima Nikāya, No. 98= Sutta Nipāta, 9.

Buddhaghosa adds that because Manasākaṭa was a pleasant place the Brahmans had built huts there on the bank of the river and fenced them in, and used to go and stay there from time to time to repeat their mantras.

[6]Jaŋghāvihāraṃ anucaŋkamantānaṃ anuvicarantānaṃ. Caŋkamati is to walk up and down thinking. I have added 'after their bath,' from Buddhaghosa, who says that this must be understood to have taken place when, after learning by heart and repeating all day, they, went down in the evening to the riverside to bathe, and then walked up and down on the sand. COMP. Mil. 22; Jāt. II, 240,272.

[7]Comp. Divyāvadāna 196, 246; and Aŋguttara II, pp. 23, 24.

[8]This is either mildly sarcastic-as much as to say, 'that is six of one, and half a dozen of the other'-- or is intended to lead on Vāseṭṭha to confess still more directly the fact that the different theologians held inconsistent opinions.

[9]The Mss. differ as to the last name, and some of them omit the last but one. The Adhvaryu, Taittirīya, Chandoga, and Bahvrica priests-those skilled in liturgy generally, and in the Yajur, Sāma, and Rig Vedas respectively — are probably meant. If we adopt the other reading for the last in the list, then those priests who relied on liturgy, sacrifice, or chant would be contrasted with those who had 'gone forth' as religieux, either as Tāpasas or as Bhikshus.

[10]Maggāni, which is noteworthy as a curious change of gender.

[11]See the note on these names at 'Vinaya Texts,' II, 130.

[12]In the text §§ 12, 13 are repeated word for word.

[13]Andhaveṇī paramparaṃ saŋsattā. The Phayre Ms. has replaced veṇī by paveṇī, after the constant custom of the Burmese Mss. to improve away unusual or difficult expressions. Buddhaghosa explains andhaveṇi by andhapaveṇi; and tells a tale of a wicked wight, who meeting a company of blind men, told them of a certain village wherein plenty of good food was to be had. When they besought him for hire to lead them there, he took the money, made one blind man catch hold of his stick, the next of that one, and so on, and then led them on till they came to a wilderness. There he deserted them, and they all — still holding each the other, and vainly, and with tears, seeking both their guide and the path — came to a miserable end! Comp. M. II, 170.

[14]The words of the question are repeated in the text in this and the following answers. It must be remembered, for these sections, that the Sun and Moon were gods just as much as Brahmā; and that the Moon always comes first in Nikāya and other ancient texts.

[15]The text repeats at length the words of §§ 12, 13, 14.

[16]Samatittika kākapeyyā. See on this phrase the note in my Buddhist Suttas (S. B. E.), pp. 178, 179.

[17]The Sinhalese Mss. omit Mahiddhi and Yama, but repeat the verb, 'we call upon,' three times after Brahmā. It is possible that the Burmese copyist has wrongly inserted them to remove the strangeness of this repetition. The comment is silent.

[18]The Buddha, as usual, here takes the 'further bank' in the meaning attached to it by the theologians he is talking to, as union with Brahmā. In his own system, of course, the 'further bank' is Arahatship. So Aŋguttara V, 232, 233, and elsewhere.

[19]Gathitā mucchitā ajjhopannā. See A. I, 74, 274; Udāna VII, 3, 4; Sum. 59, etc.

[20]Ariyassa vinaye. This may possibly mean 'in the disciple recommended by the Arahat' (that is, by the Buddha). But the latter is expressed rather by Sugata-vinaye. Comp. Aŋguttara V, 237-239 with 234, 235.

[21]These Five 'Hindrances are more fully dealt with above, p. 82.

[22]Sapariggaho vā Brahmā apariggaho va ti. Buddhaghosa says on Vāseṭṭha's reply, 'Kāmacchandassa ,ābhavato itthipariggahena apariggaho,' thus restricting the 'possession' to women. But the reference is no doubt to the first 'hindrance' ; and the word in the text, though doubtless alluding to possession of women also. includes more. Compare, on the general idea of the passage, the English expression, 'no encumbrances,' and Jacobi, 'Jaina-Sūtras' (S. B. E.) I, xxiii.

[23]Asaŋkiliṭṭha-citto. That is, says Buddhaghosa, free from mental torpor and idleness, worry and flurry.'

[24]Vasavattī vā avasavattī vā. Buddhaghosa says, in explanation of the, answer, 'By the absence of wavering he has his mind under control (vase vatteti).'

[25]āsīditva saŋsīdanti. I have no doubt the commentator is right in his explanation of these figurative expressions. Confident in their knowledge of the Vedas, and in their practice of Vedic ceremonies, they neglect higher things; and so, sinking into folly and superstition, 'they are arriving only at despair, thinking the while that they are crossing over into some happier land.'

[26]Buddhaghosa takes this to mean, 'Save me of the Brahman race.'

[27]'The point is, that the acceptance of this 'Doctrine and Discipline' is open to all; not of course that Brahmans never accept it.

[28]These paragraphs occur frequently; see. inter alia, Mahā-Sudassana Sutta II, 8, in my 'Buddhist Suttas' (S. B. E.). It will be seen from 'Buddhism,' pp. 170, 171, that these meditations play a great part in later Buddhism, and occupy very much the place that prayer takes in Christianity. A fifth, the meditation on Impurity, has been added, at what time I do not know, before the last. These four (or-five), are called the Brahma Vihāras, and the practice of them leads, not to Arahatship, but to rebirth in the Brahmā-world.

[29]Paragraphs 76, 77 are supposed to be repeated of each.

[30]Paragraphs 76, 77 are supposed to be repeated of each.

[31]Paragraphs 76, 77 are supposed to be repeated of each.

[32]Literally 'The Suttanta about those who have the knowledge of the Three (Vedas).' Sec p.303, where the names of these, 'doctors' are given.


 [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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