Digha Nikaya


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Sacred Books of the Buddhists
Volume III

Dīgha Nikāya

Dialogues of the Buddha
Part II

Sutta 18

Jana-Vasabha Suttantaɱ

Jana-Vasabha's Story

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

 


[237] [200]

[1] Thus have I heard.

1. The Exalted One was once staying in Nādika,[1]
at the Brick House.

Now at that time the Exalted One was wont to make declarations as to the rebirths of such followers
(of the doctrine)
as had passed away in death
among the tribes round about on every side —
among the Kāsis
and Kosalans,
the Vajjians
and Mallas,
the Chetis
and Vaṃsas,
the Kurus
and Panchālas,
the Macchas
and Sūrasenas
saying:

'Such an one has been reborn there,
and such an one there[2].

From Nādika upwards of fifty adherents,
who passed away in death
after having completely destroyed the Five Bonds that bind people to this world[3],
have become inheritors of the highest heavens,
there to pass utterly away,
thence never to return.

Full ninety adherents in Nādika,
who have passed away in death
after having completely destroyed the Three Bonds,
and reduced to a minimum
lust
ill-will
and delusion,
have become Once-returners,
and on their first return to this world
shall make an end of pain.

Over five hundred adherents of Nādika,
who have passed away in death
after having completely destroyed the Three Bonds,
and become converted,
cannot be reborn in any state of woe,
but are assured of attaining to the Insight
(of the higher stages of the Path).'

[201]2. Now the adherents at Nādika,
when they heard these declarations as to the rebirths of such followers
(of the doctrine)
as had passed away in death
among the tribes round about on every side —
among the Kāsis
and Kosalans,
the Vajjians
and Mallas,
the Chetis
and Vaṃsas,
the Kurus
and Panchālas,
the Macchas
and Sūrasenas
saying:

'Such an one has been reborn there,
and such an one there;

From Nādika upwards of fifty adherents,
who passed away in death
after having completely destroyed the Five Bonds that bind people to this world,
have become inheritors of the highest heavens,
there to pass utterly away,
thence never to return;

Full ninety adherents in Nādika,
who have passed away in death
after having completely destroyed the Three Bonds,
and reduced to a minimum
lust
ill-will
and delusion,
have become Once-returners,
and on their first return to this world
shall make an end of pain;

Over five hundred adherents of Nādika,
who have passed away in death
after having completely destroyed the Three Bonds,
and become converted,
cannot be reborn in any state of woe,
but are assured of attaining to the Insight
(of the higher stages of the Path);'

were pleased,
gladdened
and filled with joy and happiness
at these solutions by the [238] Exalted One
of the problems that had been put to him.

3. Now the venerable Ānanda heard of these declarations made by die Exalted One,
as to the rebirths of such followers
(of the doctrine)
as had passed away in death
among the tribes round about on every side —
among the Kāsis
and Kosalans,
the Vajjians
and Mallas,
the Chetis
and Vaṃsas,
the Kurus
and Panchālas,
the Macchas
and Sūrasenas
saying:

'Such an one has been reborn there,
and such an one there;

From Nādika upwards of fifty adherents,
who passed away in death
after having completely destroyed the Five Bonds that bind people to this world,
have become inheritors of the highest heavens,
there to pass utterly away,
thence never to return;

Full ninety adherents in Nādika,
who have passed away in death
after having completely destroyed the Three Bonds,
and reduced to a minimum
lust
ill-will
and delusion,
have become Once-returners,
and on their first return to this world
shall make an end of pain;

Over five hundred adherents of Nādika,
who have passed away in death
after having completely destroyed the Three Bonds,
and become converted,
cannot be reborn in any state of woe,
but are assured of attaining to the Insight
(of the higher stages of the Path);'

and that the adherents at Nādika were pleased,
gladdened
and filled with joy and happiness
at these solutions by the Exalted One
of the problems that had been put to him.

4. And this idea occurred to him:

'But there were also adherents in Magadha,
many of them,
and of long religious experience,
who have passed away in death.

One might think that Anga and Magadha
were void of adherents who have passed away in death.

For they too had entire faith in the Buddha
the Law
and the Order,
they had fulfilled the moral precepts.

And yet concerning them,
since they passed away in death,
nothing has been declared by the Exalted One.

It were surely a good thing to evoke a response as to them;
for much folk would believe,
and would hereafter enter into bliss.

Then too there was Seniya Bimbisara, king of Magadha,
righteous and ruling righteously,
benign to priests and laymen,
to town-folk and country-folk.

His fame are men verily spreading abroad saying:

"Dead is our so righteous king
of righteous rule
who made us so happy!

How well have we lived
in the kingdom of that righteous king!"

Now he too had entire faith in the Buddha
the Law
and the Order,
and fulfilled the moral precepts.

And people verily have also said.

"Seniya Bimbisara, king of Magadha,
who up to the day of his death
was given to praises of the Exalted One,
is dead."

Concerning him who has passed away in death
nothing has been declared by the Exalted One.

It were surely a good thing
to evoke a response as to him;
for much folk would believe,
and would hereafter enter into bliss.

Moreover the Exalted One
attained supreme Insight in Magadha.

Now where that took place,
how should there be no declaration from the Exalted One
concerning adherents in Magadha
who have passed away in death?

[203]If the Exalted One declare nothing concerning them
they will be hurt.

And since they would be hurt,
how can the Exalted One keep silence?'

[239] 5, 6. Having thus pondered, alone and privately, concerning the Magadhese adherents,
the venerable Ānanda rose up the next morning
and came into the presence of the Exalted One,
and being come,
saluted him and sat down on one side.

And so sitting, he told the Exalted One:[4]

'Now I, my Lord, heard of these declarations made by die Exalted One,
as to the rebirths of such followers
(of the doctrine)
as had passed away in death
among the tribes round about on every side —
among the Kāsis
and Kosalans,
the Vajjians
and Mallas,
the Chetis
and Vaṃsas,
the Kurus
and Panchālas,
the Macchas
and Sūrasenas
saying:

"Such an one has been reborn there,
and such an one there;

From Nādika upwards of fifty adherents,
who passed away in death
after having completely destroyed the Five Bonds that bind people to this world,
have become inheritors of the highest heavens,
there to pass utterly away,
thence never to return;

Full ninety adherents in Nādika,
who have passed away in death
after having completely destroyed the Three Bonds,
and reduced to a minimum
lust
ill-will
and delusion,
have become Once-returners,
and on their first return to this world
shall make an end of pain;

Over five hundred adherents of Nādika,
who have passed away in death
after having completely destroyed the Three Bonds,
and become converted,
cannot be reborn in any state of woe,
but are assured of attaining to the Insight
(of the higher stages of the Path);'

and that the adherents at Nādika were pleased,
gladdened
and filled with joy and happiness
at these solutions by the Exalted One
of the problems that had been put to him.

And this idea occurred to me:

"But there were also adherents in Magadha,
many of them,
and of long religious experience,
who have passed away in death.

One might think that Anga and Magadha
were void of adherents who have passed away in death.

For they too had entire faith in the Buddha
the Law
and the Order,
they had fulfilled the moral precepts.

And yet concerning them,
since they passed away in death,
nothing has been declared by the Exalted One.

It were surely a good thing to evoke a response as to them;
for much folk would believe,
and would hereafter enter into bliss.

Then too there was Seniya Bimbisara, king of Magadha,
righteous and ruling righteously,
benign to priests and laymen,
to town-folk and country-folk.

His fame are men verily spreading abroad saying:

"Dead is our so righteous king
of righteous rule
who made us so happy!

How well have we lived
in the kingdom of that righteous king!"

Now he too had entire faith in the Buddha
the Law
and the Order,
and fulfilled the moral precepts.

And people verily have also said.

"Seniya Bimbisara, king of Magadha,
who up to the day of his death
was given to praises of the Exalted One,
is dead."

Concerning him who has passed away in death
nothing has been declared by the Exalted One.

It were surely a good thing
to evoke a response as to him;
for much folk would believe,
and would hereafter enter into bliss.

Moreover the Exalted One
attained supreme Insight in Magadha.

Now where that took place,
how should there be no declaration from the Exalted One
concerning adherents in Magadha
who have passed away in death?

If the Exalted One declare nothing concerning them
they will be hurt.

And since they would be hurt,
how can the Exalted One keep silence?"'

[204]And when he had made an end of thus speaking before the Exalted One,
he rose from his seat,
saluted the Exalted One rightwise,
and went away.

7. Then the Exalted One,
not long after the venerable Ānanda had gone away,
robed himself in the morning and,
taking a bowl and cloak,
went forth for alms to Nādika.

And when he had walked through Nādika for alms,
after his meal,
when he had come back again from his round for alms and bathed his feet,
he entered the Brick House and sat down on a seat made ready,
thinking over
and cogitating upon
and concentrating his whole mind on the Magadhese adherents,
saying to himself:|| ||

'I will find out their future,
their fate after this life,
whither these good men are bound,
what their destiny is.'

And he, the Exalted One,
saw the Magadhese adherents,
whither they were bound,
[205]and what their destiny was.

Then at eventide the Exalted One,
arising from his meditation,
went out of the Brick House,
and sat down on a mat spread
in the shade behind the lodging place.

8. Then the venerable Ānanda came into the presence of the Exalted One,
saluted him
and sat down on one side.

Thus seated
he said to the Exalted One:

'My lord the Exalted One looks serene,
his complexion shines forth,
as it were,
owing to the tranquillity of his faculties.

Has the lord the Exalted One spent a pleasant day?'

9. 'When you had made that speech to me, Ānanda,
concerning the Magadhese adherents
and had gone away,
I, when I had gone to Nādika for alms,
had dined,
returned,
bathed my feet
and entered the Brick House,
sat me down on a mat spread there
and thought [240] over,
cogitated upon,
and concentrated my whole mind on
those Magadhese adherents,
resolving to know their future,
their fate after this life,
whither these good men were bound,
what their destiny would be.

And I saw, Ānanda,
those Magadhese adherents,
whither the good men were bound,
what their destiny would be.

Thereupon an invisible spirit made himself heard, saying:

"I am Jana-vasabha, O Exalted One;
I am Jana-vasabha, O Welcome One!"

Now do you allow, Ānanda,
that you have ever heard of any one
bearing such a name as Jana-vasabha?'

'I confess, lord, that I have never heard of one
bearing such a name as Jana-vasabha.

Moreover, lord, on hearing such a name as Jana-vasabha,
I am thrilled with excitement[5]
and I [206] fancy it can be no ordinary spirit
who bears such a name as Jana-vasabha.'[6]

10. 'After those words had been spoken, Ānanda,
the spirit himself appeared before me,
a splendid presence.

And he made a second utterance:

"I am Bimbisara, O Exalted One!

I am Bimbisara, O Welcome One!

'Tis now the seventh time, lord,
that I am reborn into the communion of the great King Vessavaṇa.

Deceased as a human king,
I am in heaven become a non-human king.

Hence seven,
thence seven,
in all fourteen rebirths —
So much I know of lives
I've lived in the long past.

Long, lord, have I,
who am destined not to be reborn in states of woe,
been conscious of that destiny,
and now is there desire in me
to become a Once-returner."

'Wonderful is this,
marvellous is this
that you, the venerable spirit Jana-vasabha,
tell me:

"Long have I
who am destined not to be reborn in states of woe, [241]
been conscious of that destiny;"

and again:

"Now is there desire in me
to become a Once-returner."

How has it come about that Jana-vasabha
the venerable spirit
recognizes his attainment to a distinction so splendid?'

11. "Nowise save through thy word, O Exalted One,
nowise save through thy word, O Blessed One!

From the moment when I had gone over,
in absolute and entire faith
to the Exalted One,
from that moment, lord,
[207]did I
who am destined not to be reborn in states of woe,
been conscious of that destiny;
and I now desire to become a Once-returner.

Now, lord, I have been sent on a message concerning some business by King Vessavaṇa to King Virūḷhaka;
and on my way I saw the Exalted One entering the Brick House,
and sitting down to think over,
to cogitate upon,
to concentrate his whole mind upon
the deceased Magadhese adherents,
in the resolve to know their future,
their fate after this life;
whither the good men are bound,
what their destiny is.

Now it was only the moment before, lord,
that I had heard face to face
and had understood from his own mouth
from King Vessavaṇa,
how he had said to his assembly
whither those good men were bound,
and what their destiny was,
so it occurred to me
that I would visit the Exalted One,
and I would announce it to him.

These, lord, are the two reasons why I came forth to visit the Exalted One.[7]

12.[8] In days gone by, lord,
in days long long gone by,
it came to pass that on the night of the feast of the fifteenth day
at the full moon
in the month for entering upon Retreat,[9]
the month Āsāḷhi,
the whole of the gods in the retinue of the Thirty-Three
were assembled [242] together,
seated in the hall of Good Counsel.

And around them on every side
a vast celestial company was seated;
and at the four quarters of the firmament
sat the Four Great Kings.

There was Dhataraṭṭha, king of the East,
seated facing the west,
presiding over his host;

Virūḷhaka,
king of the South,
seated facing the north,
presiding over his host;

Virūpakkha,
king of the West,
seated facing the east,
presiding over his host;

and Vessavaṇa,
king of the North,
seated facing the south,
presiding over his host.

[208]Whenever, lord, all the gods in the heaven of the Thirty-Three are assembled
and seated in their hall of Good Counsel,
with a vast celestial company
seated around them on every side,
and with the Four Great Kings at the four quarters of the firmament,
this is the order of the seats of the Four.

After that come our seats.

And those gods, lord,
who had been recently reborn
in the hosts of the Thirty-Three
because they had lived the higher life
under the Exalted One,
they outshone the other gods
in appearance and in glory.

And thereat, lord,
the Thirty-Three were glad
and of good cheer,
were filled with joy and happiness,
saying:

"Verily, sirs, the celestial hosts are waxing,
the titanic hosts are waning."

13. Now, lord, Sakka, ruler of the gods,
when he saw the satisfaction felt by the retinue of the Three-and-Thirty,
expressed his approval in these verses:

The Three-and-Thirty, verily, both gods and lord, rejoice,
Tathāgata they honour and the cosmic law sublime,[10]
Whereas they see the gods new-risen, beautiful and bright,
Who erst the holy life had lived, under the Happy One,
The Mighty Sage's hearers, who had won to higher truths,[11]
[243] Come hither; and in glory all the other gods outshine.
This they behold right gladly, both lord and Thirty-Three,
Tathāgata they honour and the cosmic law sublime.

Hereat, [209] lord, the Three-and-Thirty Gods were even more abundantly glad
and of good cheer
and filled with joy and happiness,
saying:

" Verily the celestial hosts are waxing,
the titanic hosts are waning!"

14. Then, lord, concerning the object
for which the Three-and-Thirty gods were assembled
in their seats in the Hall of Good Counsel,
they took counsel
and deliberated about it;
and with respect to that object
the Four Great Kings were addressed,
and with respect to that object
the Four Great Kings were admonished,
standing by their seats:

The uttered word th'admonished Kings accepted there,
Serene in mind and calm
they stood each at his place.

15. Then, lord, a splendid light came forth out of the North,
and a radiance shone around
surpassing the divine glory of the gods.

And, lord, then did Sakka, king of the gods,
say to the retinue of the Thirty-Three:

" According, friends, to the signs now seen, —
the light that ariseth,
the radiance that appeareth —
Brahma will be manifested.

For this is the herald sign
of the manifestation of Brahma
to wit,
when the light ariseth
and the glory shineth":[12]

The portents now are seen,
so Brahma draweth nigh,
For this is Brahma's sign,
this glorious splendour vast.

16. Then, lord, the gods of the Thirty-Three
sat down in their own places, saying:

"We will ascertain what shall be the result of this radiance,
when we have [244] realized it,
we will go to meet him.

The Four Great Kings also sat down in their own places,
saying:

"We will ascertain what shall be the result of this radiance;
when we have realized it,
we will go to meet him."

[210] And when they had heard this,
the gods of the Three-and-Thirty were all together agreed:

"We will ascertain what shall be the result of this radiance;
when we have realized it,
we will go to meet him."

17. When, lord, Brahmā Sanaṃkumāra[13] appears before the Thirty-Three gods,
he appears as a (relatively) gross personality
which he has specially created.

For Brahmā's usual appearance
is not sufficiently materialized
to impress the vision of the Thirty-Three Gods.

And, lord, when Brahmā Sanaṃkumāra appears before the Thirty-Three Gods,
he outshines the other gods
in colour and in glory.

Just, lord, as a figure made of gold
outshines the human frame,
so, when Brahmā Sanaṃkumāra appears before the Thirty-Three Gods,
does he outshine the other gods
in colour and in glory.

And when, lord, Brahmā Sanaṃkumāra appears before the Thirty-Three Gods,
there is no god in all that assembly that salutes him,
or rises up,
or invites him to be seated.

They all sit in silence,
with clasped hands
and cross-legged,
thinking:

"Of whichever god Brahmā Sanaṃkumāra now desires anything,
he will sit down on that god's divan."

And by whichever god he does sit down,
that god is filled with a sublime satisfaction,
a sublime happiness,
even as a Kshatriya king
newly anointed and crowned
is filled with a sublime satisfaction,
a sublime happiness.

[211]18. So, lord, Brahmā Sanaṃkumāra
having created a grosser personality
and become in appearance as the youth Five-crest,[14]
manifested himself thus
to the gods of the company of the Thirty-Three.

Rising up into the air
he sat down cross-legged in the sky.

Just, lord, as easily as a strong man
might sit down crosslegged on a well-spread divan
or a smooth piece of [245] ground,
even so did Brahmā Sanaṃkumāra,
rising up into the air,
sit down cross-legged in the sky.

And seeing the tranquillity of the gods of the company of the Thirty-Three
he expressed his pleasure in these verses:

The Three-and-Thirty, verily, both gods and lord, rejoice,
Tathāgata they honour and the cosmic law sublime,
Whereas they see these gods new-risen, beautiful and bright,
Who erst the holy life had lived, under the Happy One,
The Mighty Sage's hearers, who had won to higher truths,
Come hither; and in glory all the other gods outshine.
This they behold right gladly, both lord and Thirty-Three,
Tathāgata they honour and the cosmic law sublime.

19. This was the matter of Brahmā Sanaṃkumāra's speech.

And he spoke it with a voice of eightfold characteristics —
in a voice that was fluent,
intelligible,
sweet,
audible,
continuous,
distinct,
deep,
and resonant.

And whereas, lord, Brahmā Sanaṃkumāra
communicated with that assembly by his voice,
the sound thereof did not penetrate beyond the assembly.

He whose voice has these eight characteristics
is said to be Brahma-voiced.

20. Then, lord, Brahmā Sanaṃkumāra,
having-created thirty-three shapes [212] of himself,
sitting each on the couch of each of the Thirty-Three Gods,
thus addressed the Gods:

"Now what think ye, my lord gods Thirty-and-Three?

Inasmuch as the Exalted One
hath acted for the welfare of the peoples,
for the happiness of the peoples,
out of pity for the world,
for the advantage,
for the welfare,
for the happiness of gods and men,
they, whoever they be, Sirs,
who have taken the Buddha for their refuge,
the Truth for their refuge,
[246] the Order for their refuge,
they, on the dissolution of the body after death,
have been reborn,
some of them into the communion of the Paranimmita-Vasavattī gods,
some of them into the communion of the Tusita gods,
or of the gods in the retinue of Yāma,
or of the Thirty-Three Gods,
or of the Four Great Kings.

Those who fill the number of the lowest group,
they go to fill the number of the Gandharva host."

21. This was the matter of Brahmā Sanaṃkumāra's speech.

And he spoke it with such a voice,
that each god fancied:[15]

"He who is on my divan,
he alone hath spoken."

Speaks but one Brahma-shape, the Thirty-Three all speak;
Silently sits one shape, they all in silence sit.
Then all the Three-and-Thirty with their king too think,
He who is on my couch, 'tis he alone that spake.[16]

22. Then, lord, Brahmā Sanaṃkumāra betook himself to one end [of the Hall]
and then [213] sitting down on the divan
of Sakka, lord of the gods,
addressed the Thirty-Three Gods:

"Now what think ye, my lord gods Thirty-and-Three,
of the completeness wherewith the Exalted One,
who knows,
who sees,
the Arahant,
Buddha Supreme,
hath revealed the Four Ways to Iddhi
for the development thereof,
for proficiency therein,
for the elaboration thereof?

Which are the Four Ways?

In the first place
a brother practises that way
which is compounded of concentration
and effort
with desire.

In the second place
a brother practises that way
which is compounded of concentration
and effort
with energy.

In the third place
a brother practises that way
which [247] is compounded of concentration
and effort
with a [dominant] idea.

In the fourth place
a brother practises that way
which is compounded of concentration
and effort
with investigation.

These, sir, are the Four Ways to Iddhi
revealed by the Exalted One
who knows,
who sees,
the Arahant,
Buddha Supreme,
for the development thereof,
for proficiency therein,
for the elaboration thereof.[17]

Now those recluses or brahmins who,
in past times,
have enjoyed Iddhi in one or more of its forms,
they have all done so
through practice
and improvement
in just these Four Ways.

And those recluses or brahmins who,
in future times,
will enjoy Iddhi in one or more of its forms,
they will all do so
through practice
and improvement
in just these Four Ways.

And those recluses or brahmins who,
at the present time,
enjoy Iddhi in one or more of its forms,
they all do so
through practice
and improvement
in just these Four Ways.

Do ye see, my lord gods Thirty-and-Three,
in me a potency of Iddhi like that?"

"Yea, Brahma."

"I too, Sirs,
through practice
and improvement
in just these Four Ways to Iddhi,
[214] have acquired such power and potency therein."

23. Such was the matter of Brahmā Sanaṃkumāra's speech.

And having thus spoken
he addressed the Thirty-Three Gods:

"Now what think ye, my lord gods Thirty-and-Three,
of the Three Avenues for arriving at Bliss
manifested by the Exalted One
who knows,
who sees,
by the Arahant,
Buddha Supreme?

Which are the Three?

In the first place, Sirs,
take a brother who is living
in indulgence in the pleasures of sense,
in association with bad conditions.

He on a certain occasion
hears the Aryan Truth,
studies it
and acquires both the main
[248] and the subsidiary doctrines.

Having come to this hearing,
studying
and acquisition,
he takes to a life detached from the pleasures of sense,
not associated with bad conditions.

Under these circumstances
he experiences ease
and more than ease,
happiness.

Just as a feeling of complacency
may develop into gladness,
so does for him,
under those circumstances,
first ease arise,
and then more than ease,
happiness.

This, Sirs, is the First Avenue
for arriving at Bliss
manifested by the Exalted One
who knows,
who sees,
by the Arahant,
Buddha Supreme.

24. In the next place, Sirs,
take a brother in whom the grosser conditions precedent[18] to action,
speech
and thought
are not entirely calmed down.

He on a certain occasion
hears the Aryan Truth preached,
studies it
and acquires both the main
and subsidiary doctrines.

Having arrived at this hearing,
studying
and acquisition,
the grosser conditions precedent to action,
speech
and thought
in him become entirely calmed down.

And from this ease is experienced,
and then more than ease,
happiness.

Just as a feeling of complacency
may develop into gladness,
so does for him,
under those circumstances,
first ease arise
and then more than ease,
happiness.

[215] This, Sirs, is the Second Avenue
for arriving at Bliss
manifested by the Exalted One
who knows,
who sees,
by the Arahant,
Buddha Supreme.

25. In the third place, Sirs,
take the case of a brother
who does not really know that

'This is good,'
'This is bad,'
'This is wrong,'
'This is not wrong,'
'This is to be followed,'
'This is to be avoided,'
'This is base,'
'This is excellent,'
'This is of mixed dark and bright quality.'

He on a certain occasion
hears the Aryan Truth,
studies it
and acquires the main
and subsidiary doctrines.

Having arrived at this hearing,
study
and acquisition,
he now really knows tha

'This is good,'
'This is bad,'
'This is wrong,'
'This is not wrong,'
'This is to be followed,'
'This is to be avoided,'
'This is base,'
'This is [249] excellent,'
'This is of mixed dark and bright quality.'

For him thus knowing,
thus seeing,
ignorance is put away,
wisdom has arisen.

From this extinction of ignorance,
from the arising of wisdom,
a sense of ease arises
and, then more than ease,
happiness.

Just as a feeling of complacency
may develop into gladness,
so does for him,
under these circumstances,
first ease arise,
and then more than ease,
happiness.

This, Sirs, is now the Third Avenue
for arriving at Bliss
manifested by the Exalted One
who knows,
who sees,
by the Arahant,
Buddha Supreme.

These, Sirs, are [216] the Three Avenues
for arriving at Bliss
manifested by the Exalted One
who knows,
who sees,
by the Arahant,
Buddha Supreme."

26. On this matter, lord, did Brahmā Sanaṃkumāra speak.

And having so spoken
he addressed the Thirty-Three Gods:

"Now what think ye,
my lord gods Thirty-and-Three,
of the completeness wherewith the Exalted One,
who knows,
who sees,
the Arahant,
Buddha Supreme,
hath revealed the Four Inceptions of Mindfulness[19]
for attaining to the Good.

And which are the Four?

Take, Sirs, a brother who abides
subjectively watchful over the body,
ardent
self-possessed
mindful,
that he may discern the unhappiness
arising from coveting the things of the world.

So, subjectively watchful,
he attains to right concentration
and right calm.

He, having right concentration
and right calm
in his physical being,
evokes knowledge of
and insight into
all other physical forms external to himself.

So, again, he abides subjectively watchful over his feelings,
ardent
self-possessed
mindful,
that he may discern the unhappiness
arising from coveting the things of the world.

So, subjectively watchful,
he attains to right concentration
and right calm.

He, having right concentration
and right calm
in his feelings,
evokes knowledge of
and insight into
the feelings of others external to himself.

So, again, he abides subjectively watchful over his heart,
ardent
self-possessed
mindful,
that he may discern the unhappiness
arising from coveting the things of the world.

So, subjectively watchful,
he attains to right concentration
and right calm.

He, having right concentration
and right calm
in his heart,
evokes knowledge of
and insight into
the hearts of others external to himself.

So, again, he abides subjectively watchful over his ideas,
ardent
self-possessed
mindful,
that he may discern the unhappiness
arising from coveting the things of the world.

So, subjectively watchful,
he attains to right concentration
and right calm.

He, having right concentration
and right calm
in his ideas,
[250] evokes knowledge of
and insight into
the ideas of others external to himself.

These, Sirs, are the Four Inceptions of Deliberation
for attaining to the Good
completely revealed by the Exalted One,
who knows,
who sees,
the Arahant,
Buddha Supreme."

27. On this matter did Brahmā Sanaṃkumāra speak.

And having spoken
he addressed the Thirty-Three Gods:

"Now what think ye,
my lord gods Thirty-and Three,
of the completeness wherewith the Exalted One,
who knows,
who sees,
the Arahant,
Buddha Supreme,
hath revealed the Seven Requisites of Intellectual Concentration,[20]
for practice of right Rapture,
for the perfecting of Rapture?

Which are the Seven?

Right views,
right intention,
right speech,
right action,
right livelihood,
[217] right effort,
right mindfulness.

That concentration of thought, Sirs,
which is prepared by these seven factors,
is called the Noble Right Rapture
together with its bases,
together with its requisites.

Right intention suffices to maintain right views,
right speech suffices to maintain right intention,
right action suffices to maintain right speech,
right livelihood suffices to maintain right action,
right effort suffices to maintain right livelihood,
right mindfulness suffices to maintain right effort,
right rapture suffices to maintain right mindfulness,
right knowledge suffices to maintain right rapture,
right freedom suffices to maintain right knowledge.

If any one uttering right speech, Sirs,
were to say:

'Well hath the Exalted One proclaimed the Truth, —
the Norm that in this life beareth fruit,
that avails not for a time only,[21]
that welcometh every one,
that leadeth away and onward,
that each one who hath intelligence
may of and by himself understand!

'Then in saying:

"Wide opened are the portals to Nirvana!"

[251] He would be rightly saying that.

For, Sirs, the doctrine well proclaimed by the Exalted One
is all that;
and

"Wide opened are the portals to Nirvana!"

For, Sirs, whosoever has unwavering[22] faith in the Buddha,
unwavering faith in the Truth,
unwavering faith in the Order,
and is endowed with the virtues pleasing to the Noble Ones;
and whatsoever new gods have appeared in our midst,
led hither by the Law,
to wit more than twenty-four lacs of Magadha disciples
now dead and gone;[23]
these all through complete destruction of the Three Bonds,
have become converted,
and cannot be reborn in any state of woe,
but are assured of attaining to the Insight
(of the highest stages of the Path).

[218] Moreover there are here Once-returners;

"But of that other Breed to tell,
Of higher merit,[24] lo! the tale
I cannot reckon, lest perchance
I should offend against the truth."

28. This, lord, was the matter of Brahmā Sanaṃkumāra's speech.

And concerning what he had spoken,
the reflection arose in the mind of the Great King Vessavaṇa:

"Wonderful truly is it, Sirs,
marvellous is it,
that there should be so glorious a Teacher,
so glorious a proclaiming of the Truth,
and that such glorious avenues to distinction[25] should be made known!"

[252] Then, lord, Brahmā Sanaṃkumāra discerning this reflection in the mind of the Great King Vessavaṇa,
spake thus to him:

"Now what thinks my lord,
the Great King Vessavaṇa?

There both has been in past times,
a Teacher so glorious,
a proclaiming of the Truth so glorious,
a making known
such glorious avenues to distinction,
and there will be also in future times
a Teacher so glorious,
[219] a proclaiming of the Truth so glorious,
a making known
such glorious avenues to distinction."

29. This was the matter whereof Brahmā Sanaṃkumāra spoke to the Thirty-Three Gods.

And this matter the Great King Vessavaṇa,
when he had, in his own person,
heard it
and assented to it,
reported to his own following.

And this matter the spirit Jana-vasabha,
when he had in his own person
heard it so reported by Vessavaṇa,
reported to the Exalted One.

And this matter the Exalted One,
when he had in his own person
heard it
and assented to it,
and had also intuitively discerned it,
reported to Ānanda.

And this matter the venerable Ānanda,
when he had in his own person
heard it from the Exalted One
and assented to it,
reported to the brethren
and the sisterhood,
to believing laymen
and laywomen.

And the System waxed influential and prosperous
and expanded and broadened
with the numbers that joined,
so well was it spread abroad among men.[26]

Here endeth Jana-vasabhas Story.

 


[1] See above pp. 97 ff., and the notes there.

[2] For the details see above, p. 98, Ī 7.

[3] See 'Dialogues' I, pp. 200, 201.

[4] Repeated from ĪĪ1,2, 4, nearly word for word.

[5] Literally, the down of my skin bristles.

[6] Literally, the 'Bull of the Folk,' that is glorious among the people. The name seems scarcely to justify the good Ānanda's excitement, as such epithets were then, as now, common enough in India. But it is part of the art of the story-teller to make a mystery of it.

[7] These two reasons are: firstly, that he had heard a statement by Vessavaṇa; secondly, that (having noticed, on his way, how the Exalted One had been thinking on that very matter) he wished to report it to him.

[8] Recurs slightly altered below, Maha-Govinda Suttanta, Ī 2.

[9] Vassūpanāyika. Vassa is here used in its technical sense of the yearly Retreat during the rains. See A. I, 51; Vin. I, 137.

[10] Literally, 'and the fair Normness of the Norm,' that is, the rule, not of gods, but of Law.

[11] Visesūpagata. See above, Vol. I, p. 296: 'attains to distinction so excellent.' Perhaps this technical phrase is to be taken here (as in Ī 28) in its ordinary sense. It would then mean: 'who have attained to the distinction of rebirth among the gods.'

[12] So also in the Kevaddha (p. 200, translated above, Vol. I, p. 281).

[13] See Vol. I, p. 121.

[14] Pañcasikha, which became a famous name in Indian legends, and was adopted by Saivite and Sānkhya writers. It is nowhere explained what, or how disposed, his five crests were.

[15] In the text read so so devo.

[16] The first couplet of this verse, oddly enough it seems to us, was a great favourite. It survived among the Buddhists for many centuries, and is extant in its Sanskritised form in the Divyāvadāna, p. 166; and also in the Madhyamaka Vritti, p. 118 of the edition published by the Buddhist Text Society.

[17] There are two sorts of Iddhi, the worldly and the spiritual. On the former see above, Vol. I, pp. 272, 3; and on the latter Dīgha III, 112, 113.

[18] Saŋkhārā. This paragraph throws light on the celebrated verse given above, p. 232.

[19] The four Satipaṭṭhānas.

[20] Samādhi-parikkhārā.

[21] akālika. The opposite tāvakālika occurs above, p. 195.

[22] Avecca, not as Childers thought from ava + eti but from a + vi + eti. Buddhaghosa says acala. Veti (not in Childers) is to wane (see S. I, 135; A. II, 51; KV. 66; Asl. 329), but one can scarcely say 'unwaning faith.'

[23] The reading is uncertain. As it stands the deceased disciples belong only to the second group — the new gods. It is quite possible that it is intended to include them also among the men of faith and virtue in the first group.

[24] These must be Anāgāmins, Non-returners, those who, reborn in one of the heavens, will attain Arahantship there, without returning at all to this world.

[25] Visesādhigamā. See note above on Ī 13.

[26] Afterwards interpreted to mean 'gods and men' (see pp. 235, 236). But the last two sentences refer here to men and women only. To put in the gods spoils the climax.


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