Digha Nikaya


[Site Map]  [Home]  [Sutta Indexes]  [Glossology]  [Site Sub-Sections]

The Pali is transliterated as IAST Unicode (āīūṃṅñṭḍṇḷ). Alternatives:
[ ASCII (aiumnntdnl) | Mobile (āīūŋńñţđņļ) | Velthuis (aaiiuu.m'n~n.t.d.n.l) ]

 

Sacred Books of the Buddhists
Volume III

Dīgha Nikāya

Dialogues of the Buddha
Part II

Sutta 23

Pāyāsi Suttantaɱ

Rebirth and Karma

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

 


 

Chapter I

[1] Thus have I heard.

1. The venerable Kumāra Kassapa[1] was once walking on tour in Kosala
together with a great company of bhikkhus,
to the number of about five hundred,
and coming to the Kosalese city named Setavyā,
he there abode.

And there the venerable Kumāra Kassapa dwelt to the north of Setavyā,
in the Siṁsapā-tree Grove.

Now at that time the chieftain Pāyāsi
was residing at Setavyā,
a spot teeming with life,
with much grass-land and wood-land,
with water 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.[2]

2. Now at that time
there came over Pāyāsi
an evil view of things to this effect:

'Neither is there any other world,
nor are there beings reborn
otherwise than from parents,
nor is there fruit or result of deeds
well done or ill done.'

Now the brahmins and householders of Setavyā heard the news:

'They say that the wanderer Master Kassapa,
disciple of the wanderer Gotama,
walking on tour with a great company of bhikkhus,
to the number of about five hundred,
has arrived at Setavyā
and is staying there to the north of the town,
in the [350] Siṁsapā-tree Grove.

Now regarding that Master Kassapa,
such is the excellent reputation that has been raised abroad:

'Wise and expert is he,
abounding in knowledge and learning,
eloquent and excellent in discourse,
venerable too
and an Arahant.

And good is it to interview Arahants like him.'

Then the brahmins and householders of Setavyā,
coming out from the town
in companies and bands from each district
so that they could be counted,[3]
went by the north gate,
to the Siṁsapā-tree Grove.

3. Now at that time Pāyāsi, the chieftain,
had gone apart
to the upper terrace of his house for siesta.

And seeing the people thus go by
he said to his doorkeeper:

'Why are the people of Setavyā
going forth like this
towards the Siṁsapā-tree Grove?'

Then the doorkeeper told him the news.

And he said:

'Then, good doorkeeper,
go to the brahmins and householders of Setavyā
and say to them:

"Pāyāsi, sirs, bids you wait;
he will come himself
to see the Wanderer Master Kassapa."

That Boy Kassapa
will be winning over at the outset
those foolish and inexpert
brahmins and householders of Setavyā
to think:

"There is both another world
and there are beings
who are born not of parents,
and there is fruit,
and result of deeds
well done and ill done."

But, my good doorkeeper,
these three things do not exist.'

'Even so, sir,'
said the doorkeeper,
and carried out his master's bidding.

4. So Pāyāsi, the chieftain,
surrounded by the brahmins and householders of Setavyā,
came to the Siṁsapā-tree Grove,
and finding the venerable Kassapa,
exchanged with him the greetings and compliments of politeness and courtesy,
and took his seat on one side.

And as to the brahmins and householders of Setavyā,
some of them bowed before the venerable Kassapa
and took their seats on one side;
some of them exchanged with him the greetings and compliments of politeness and courtesy
and then took their [351] seats on one side;
some of them saluted him with joined hands
and took their seats on one side;
some of them called out their name and family
and did likewise,
some of them took their seats on one side in silence.

5. And when he was seated
Pāyāsi spoke thus to the venerable Master Kassapa:

'I, Master Kassapa, am of this opinion,
of these views:

'Neither is there any other world,
nor are there beings reborn
otherwise than from parents,
nor is there fruit or result of deeds
well done or ill done.'

'I, Prince, have neither seen or heard
of any one holding such a view,
such an opinion.

How then can you declare,
as you do, that
"there neither is another world,
nor are there beings reborn
otherwise than from parents,
nor is there fruit or result of deeds
well done or ill done"?

Wherefore, Prince, I will cross-question you herein,
and do you reply in what way you may approve.

What think you,
yon moon and sun,
are they in this world
or in another world,
are they divine or human?'

'This moon and sun, Master Kassapa,
are in another world,
not in this,
they are gods,
not human.'

'Then, Prince,
let this be taken as evidence
that there is both another world,
and rebirth as inheritor of the highest heavens,
and fruit and result of deeds done well or ill.'

6. 'Even though Master Kassapa says thus,
it still appears to me that:

'Neither is there any other world,
nor are there beings reborn
otherwise than from parents,
nor is there fruit or result of deeds
well done or ill done.'

'Have you, Prince, any proof
to establish that they do not exist?'

'I have, Master Kassapa.'

'As how?'

'Here it is, Master Kassapa.

I have had friends,
companions,
relatives,
men of the same blood as myself,
who have taken life,
committed thefts,
or fornication,
have uttered lying,
slanderous,
abusive,
gossiping speech,
have been covetous,
of malign thoughts,
of evil opinions.

They anon have fallen ill
of mortal suffering and disease.

When I had understood
that they would not recover from that illness,
I have gone to them and [352] said:

"According to the views and opinion held, sirs,
by certain wanderers and brahmins,
they who break the precepts of morality,
when the body breaks up after death,
are reborn into the Waste,
the Woeful Way,
the Fallen Place,
the Pit.

Now you, sirs, have broken those precepts.

If what those reverent wanderers and brahmins say is true,
this, sirs, will be your fate.

If these things should befall you, sirs,
come to me and tell me, saying:

'There is another world,
there is rebirth not of parents,
there is fruit and result
of deeds well-done and ill-done.'

You, sirs, are for me trustworthy and reliable,
and what you say you have seen,
will be even so,
just as if I myself had seen it."

They have consented to do this, saying,

"Very good,"

but they have neither come themselves,
nor dispatched a messenger.

Now this, Master Kassapa,
is evidence for me
that there is neither another world,
nor rebirth not by human parents,
nor fruit or result of deeds
well done and ill.'

7. 'Well then, prince,
I will yet ask you this,
and do you answer even as you think fit.

What think you?

Take the case of men
who have taken a felon redhanded
and bring him up saying:

"My lord, this felon was caught in the act;
inflict what penalty you wish."

He replies:

"Well then, sirs,
bind this man securely,
his arms behind him,
with a strong cord;
shave his head;
lead him around,
to the sound of a sharp drum,
from street to street,
from cross-road to cross-road,
and out at the southern gate;
there, south of the town
in the place of execution,
cut off his head."

They, assenting with

"Very good,"

proceed to carry out these orders,
and, in the place of execution,
make him sit down.

Now would the felon gain permission of this sort from his executioners:

"Let my masters, the executioners,
wait till I have visited my friends and advisers,
my kinsmen by blood,
in this or that village or town,
and come back"?

Or would the executioners cut off the head of this vain talker?'

'They would not grant the permission, Master Kassapa;
they would cut off his head.'

[353] 'But this felon, prince, is human
and cannot get leave from human executioners.

How much less then
would your friends and relatives,
after death, in the Pit,
gain permission from the keepers of the Pit,
saying:

"Let my masters, the Pit-keepers,
wait till we have gone and told the chieftain Pāyāsi,
that there is both another world
and rebirth other than of parents,
and fruit and result of deeds
well-done and ill?"

Be this exposition a proof to you, Prince,
that these things exist.'

8. 'Even though Master Kassapa says thus,
it still appears to me that not one of these things exists.'

'Have you, prince,
any further proof to establish that they do not exist?'

I have, Master Kassapa.'

'As how?'

'Here it is, Master Kassapa.

I have had friends and companions,
kinsmen,
men of the same blood as myself,
who have abstained from taking life,
from committing thefts,
or fornication,
from lying,
slandering,
rude,
or frivolous speech,
who have not coveted,
or had malign thoughts
or evil opinions.

They anon have fallen ill
of mortal suffering and disease.

When I had understood
that they would not recover from that illness,
I have gone to them and said:

"According, sirs, to the views and opinions held by some Wanderers and Brahmins,
they who keep the precepts of morality,
when the body breaks up,
are after death reborn into the bright and happy world.

Now you, sirs, have kept those precepts.

If what those reverend samaṇas and brahmins say is true,
this, sirs, will be your fate.

If these things should befall you, sirs,
when you have been there reborn,
come to me and let me know
that there is both another world,
rebirth other than of parents,
and fruit and result of deeds
well-done and ill-done.

You, sirs, are for me trustworthy and reliable,
and what you say you have seen,
will be even so,
just as if I myself had seen it."

They have consented to do this, saying

"Very good";

but they have not come and let me know,
nor have [354] they dispatched a messenger.

Now this again, Master Kassapa,
is evidence to me
that there is neither another world,
nor rebirth other than of parentage,
nor fruit and result of deeds
well-done and ill-done.'

9. 'Well then, Prince,
I will make you a simile,
for by a simile some intelligent persons
will recognize the meaning of what is said.

Just as if a man were plunged head-under
in a pit of mire.

And you were to order men saying:

"Well now, masters,
pull the man out of that pit."

They, saying

"Very good,"

were to comply and pull him out.

You were then to say to them:

"Well now, masters,
brush the mire smearing him
from off his body with split bamboo."[4]

And they were to obey you.

And you were to say to them:

"Well now, masters,
shampoo this man's body
a treble massage
with yellow shampoo powder."

And they were to do so.

And you were to say to them:

"Now, masters,
rub him with oil,
and bathe him three times
using fine chunam."

And they were to do so.

And you were to say to them:

"Well, masters,
now dress his hair."[5]

And they were to do so.

And you were to say to them:

"Now, masters,
deck him with a costly garland
and costly unguent
and costly garments."

And they were to do so.

And you were to say to them:

"Well, masters,
take him up on to the palace
and amuse him with the pleasures of the five senses."

And they were to do so.

Now what think you, O chieftain?

Would this man, well bathed,
well anointed,
shaved
and combed,
dressed,
wreathed
and adorned,
clad in clean raiment,
taken to the upper palace,
and indulging in,
surrounded by,
treated to,
the five pleasures of sense,
be desirous of being plunged once more
into that pit of mire?'

'No indeed, Master Kassapa.'

[355] 'And why?'

'Foul, Master Kassapa,
is a pit of mire,
foul and counted as such,
stinking,
disgusting,
repulsive,
and counted as such.'

'Even so, Prince,
are human beings
in the eyes of the gods,
foul
and counted as such,
stinking,
disgusting,
repulsive,
and counted as such.

The smell of man
offends the gods
a hundred leagues away.

What then?

Shall your friends and companions,
your kinsmen and connexions
who, having kept the precepts,
are reborn into the bright and happy place,
come and bring you word
that there is another world,
that there is rebirth other than by parentage,
that there is fruit and result of deeds
well-done and ill-done?

Let this exposition, chieftain,
be evidence to you
that these things exist.'

10. 'Even though Master Kassapa says so,
it still appears to me
that not one of these things exists.'

'Have you, prince,
any further proof to establish that they do not exist?'

'I have, Master Kassapa.'

'As how?'

'Here it is, Master Kassapa.

I have had friends,
companions,
kinsmen,
men of the same blood as myself,
who kept the precepts,
abstaining from taking life;
from taking what was not given,
from inchastity,
lying speech
and strong intoxicating liquors.

They anon have fallen mortally ill;
and I, having told them how some samaṇas and brahmins say that,
after such a life,
one would be reborn in the communion
of the Three-and-Thirty Gods,
have asked them,
if they were so reborn,
to come and let me know that there was another world,
birth other than of parents,
and fruit and result of deeds
well-done and ill-done.

They have promised to do so,
but they have neither come and told me,
nor sent a messenger.

This, Master Kassapa,
is evidence to me that not one of those things exists.'

11. 'Well then, Prince,
I will reply by asking you something,
and do you answer as you think fit.

That which, humanly speaking,
is a century,
this to the [356] Three-and-Thirty Gods
is one night and day.

Of such a night
thirty nights are the month —
of such a month
twelve months are the year —
of such a year
the celestial thousand years
are the life-span of the Three-and-Thirty Gods.

Those of whom you now speak
will have attained rebirth into the communion of these Gods.

If it should occur to them thus:

"Let us for two or three days
indulge ourselves,
surrounded by and steeped in
the five pleasures of sense,
and thereafter let us go and tell the chieftain Pāyāsi
that there is another world,
rebirth other than of parents,
and fruit and result of deeds
well-done and ill-done"

would they then have come to you,
and told you so?'

'Certainly not, Master Kassapa;
for we should have been dead long before.

But who lets Master Kassapa know all these things:
that there are Three-and-Thirty Gods,
or that the Three-and-Thirty Gods live so many years?

We do not believe him when he says these things.'

'That, Prince, is just as if there were a man born blind
who could not see objects
as dark or bright,
as blue,
yellow,
red
or brown;
who could not see things
as smooth
or rough,
nor the stars,
nor moon,
nor sun.

And he were to say:

"There are none of these things,
nor any one capable of seeing them.

I don't know them,
I don't see them;
therefore they don't exist."

Would one so speaking,
speak rightly, Prince?'

'Not so, Master Kassapa.

The visual objects of which you speak do exist,
and so does the faculty of seeing them.

To say

"I don't know them,
I don't see them;
therefore they don't exist":

that would not be speaking rightly.'

'But even so, methinks, do you, Prince,
talk like the blind man in my parable
when you say:

"But who lets Master Kassapa know
that there are Three-and-Thirty Gods,
or that the Three-and-Thirty Gods live so many years?

We do not believe him
when he says these things."

For, Prince, the other world is not,
as you imagine,
to be regarded with this fleshly eye.

[357] Those Wanderers and Brahmins
who haunt the lonely and remote recesses of the forest,
where noise,
where sound
there hardly is,
they there abiding
strenuous,
ardent,
aloof,
purify the eye divine;
they by that purified eye divine,
passing the vision of men,
see both this world
and that other world,
and beings reborn not of parents.

In this way, Prince,
is the other world to be seen,
and not, even as you imagine,
by this fleshly eye.

Let this be a proof to you
that there is another world,
that there are beings reborn not of parents,
that there is fruit and result of deeds
well-done and ill-done.'

12. 'Even though Master Kassapa says so,
yet it still appears to me
that not one of these things exists.'

'Have you any further evidence, Prince?'

'I have, Master Kassapa.'

'As how?'

'Here it is, Master Kassapa.

I see Wanderers and Brahmins
moral and of virtuous dispositions,
fond of life,
averse from dying,
fond of happiness,
shrinking from sorrow.

Then I think, Master Kassapa:

"If these good Wanderers and Brahmins were to know this —

'When once we are dead
we shall be better off' —

then these good men would take poison,
or stab themselves,
or put an end to themselves by hanging,
or throw themselves from precipices.

And it is because they do not know that,
once dead, they will be better off,
that they are fond of life,
averse from dying,
fond of happiness,
disinclined for sorrow.

This, Master Kassapa, is for me evidence
that there is no other world,
no beings reborn otherwise than of parents,
no fruit and no result of deeds
well and ill-done.'

13. 'Well then, Prince, I will make you a simile,
for by way of a simile
some wise men discern the meaning of what is spoken.

Once upon a time, Prince,
there was a brahmin who had two wives.

By one he had a son,
ten or twelve years of age;
the other was pregnant
and near her time.

Then the brahmin died.

Now the boy said to his mother's co-wife:

[358] "Whatever treasure there is, lady,
or grain,
or silver,
or gold,
all that is mine.

There is nothing here for you whatever;
make over to me, lady,
the heritage of my father!"

Then the brahminee made answer to him:

"Wait, my lad,
till my child is born.

If'twill be a boy,
one portion shall be his;
if a girl, she shall wait on you."

'But the boy reiterated his claim
again and yet again.

Then the brahminee,
taking a sword,
entered an inner room
and ripped up her belly, saying:

"If I can only find out whether 'tis a boy or a girl."

Thus did she destroy both her own life
and her unborn infant,
and her wealth also,
through the foolish and thoughtless way in which,
seeking a heritage,
she met with ruin and disaster.

Even so you, Prince,
foolish and thoughtless that you are,
will meet with ruin and disaster
by seeking without wisdom
for another world.

Moral and virtuous Wanderers and Brahmins
do not force maturity
on that which is unripe;
they, being wise,
wait for that maturity.

The virtuous have need of their life.

In proportion to the length of time such men abide here,
is the abundant merit that they produce
and accomplish
for the welfare of many,
for the happiness of many,
out of compassion for the world,
for the advantage,
the welfare,
the happiness of gods and men.

Let this then be a proof to you, Prince,
that there is another world,
that there is rebirth other than of parentage,
that there is fruit and result of deeds
well and ill-done.'

14. 'Even though Master Kassapa says so,
it still appears to me
that not one of these things exists.'

'Have you further evidence, Prince?'

'I have, Master Kassapa.'

'As how, Prince?'

'Here it is, Master Kassapa.

Take the case of men
who having taken a felon red-handed
bring him up, saying:

"This felon, my lord, was caught in the act.

Inflict on him what penalty you wish."

And I should say:

"Well then, my masters,
throw this man alive into a jar;
close the mouth of it
and cover it [359] over with wet leather,
put over that
a thick cement of moist clay,
put it on to a furnace
and kindle a fire."

They saying

"Very good"

would obey me
and throw this man alive into a jar;
close the mouth of it
and cover it over with wet leather,
put over that
a thick cement of moist clay,
put it on to a furnace
and kindle a fire."

When we knew that the man was dead,
we should take down the jar,
unbind and open the mouth,
and quickly observe it,
with the idea:

"Perhaps we may see the soul of him coming out!"

We don't see the soul of him coming out!

This, master Kassapa,
is for me evidence that there neither is another world,
nor rebirth other than by parentage,
nor fruit or result of deeds well or ill-done.'

15. 'Well then, Prince, I will in reply ask you something,
and do you answer as you may please.

Do you not admit, Prince,
that, when you are taking siesta,
you see dreams of enjoyment in garden,
grove,
country,
or lake side?'

'I do admit it, Master Kassapa.'

'Are you at that time watched over
by attendant women—hunchbacks
and dwarfs,
and maidens[6]
and girls?'

'That is so, Master Kassapa.'

'Do they see your soul entering or leaving you?'

'Not so, Master Kassapa.'

'So they who are living
do not see the soul
of you who are living
entering or leaving you
(when you dream).

How then will you see the soul
of a dead person
entering or leaving him?

Let this be a proof to you, Prince,
that those things do exist.'

16. 'Even though Master Kassapa says so,
it still appears to me
that not one of those things exists.'

'Have you any further evidence, Prince?'

'I have, Master Kassapa.'

'As how?'

'Take the case, Master Kassapa,
of men taking a felon red-handed,
and bringing him up saying:

"My lord, we caught this felon in the act.

Inflict what penalty [360] you wish."

And I say:

"Well then, my masters,
take this man and weigh him alive;
then strangle him with a bowstring
and weigh him again."

And they do so.

While he lives,
he is more buoyant,
supple,
wieldy.

When he is dead,
he is weightier,
stiffer,
unwieldier.

This, Master Kassapa,
is evidence for me
that there is neither another world,
nor rebirth other than by human parentage,
nor fruit nor result of deeds
well-done or ill-done.'

17. 'Well now, Prince,
I will give you a simile,
for by way of a simile
some wise men discern the meaning of what is said.

It is just as if, Prince,
a man were to weigh in a balance
a ball of iron that had been heated all day,
and was burning and glowing with heat;
and were to weigh it later on in a balance
when it was cool and quenched.

When would that ball of iron be lighter,
softer
and more plastic?

When it was burning and glowing with heat,
or when it was cool and quenched?'

'When, Master Kassapa,
that ball of iron,
with its lambent and gaseous concomitants,
is burning and glowing with heat,
then it is lighter,
softer,
more plastic,
but when, without those lambent and gaseous concomitants,
it is cool and quenched,
it is then heavier,
more rigid,
less plastic.'

'Even so, Prince,
when this body has its concomitants of life,
heat
and intelligence,
then it is lighter,
softer
and more plastic.

But when it lacks those three concomitants,
then it is heavier,
more rigid,
less plastic.

'Let this, Prince, be a proof to you
that there is both another world,
rebirth other than of parents,
and fruit and result of deeds
well and ill-done.'

18. 'Even though Master Kassapa says this,
it still appears to me
that not one of those things exists.'

'Have you any further evidence, Prince?'

'I have, Master Kassapa.'

'What might that be like?'

'Take the case, Master Kassapa,
of the men taking a felon red-handed and bringing him up, saying :

"My lord, this felon was caught in the act.

Inflict on [361] him what penalty you wish."

And I say:

"Well, my masters,
kill this man by stripping off cuticle
and skin
and flesh
and sinews
and bones
and marrow."

They do so.

And when he is half dead, I say:

"Lay him on his back,
and perhaps we may see the soul of him pass out."

And they do so,
but we see the passing of no soul.

Then I say:

"Well then, lay him bent over,
and perhaps we may see the soul of him pass out."

And they do so,
but we see the passing of no soul.

Then I say:

"Well then, lay himon his side,
and perhaps we may see the soul of him pass out."

And they do so,
but we see the passing of no soul.

Then I say:

"Well then, lay him on the other side,
and perhaps we may see the soul of him pass out."

And they do so,
but we see the passing of no soul.

Then I say:

"Well then, stand him up,
and perhaps we may see the soul of him pass out."

And they do so,
but we see the passing of no soul.

Then I say:

"Well then, stand him on his head,
and perhaps we may see the soul of him pass out."

And they do so,
but we see the passing of no soul.

Then I say:

"Well then, smite him with your hand,
and perhaps we may see the soul of him pass out."

And they do so,
but we see the passing of no soul.

Then I say:

"Well then, smite him with clods,
and perhaps we may see the soul of him pass out."

And they do so,
but we see the passing of no soul.

Then I say:

"Well then, on this side,
and perhaps we may see the soul of him pass out."

And they do so,
but we see the passing of no soul.

Then I say:

"Well then, smite him on that side,
and perhaps we may see the soul of him pass out."

And they do so,
but we see the passing of no soul.

Then I say:

"Well then, smite him all over,
and perhaps we may see the soul of him pass out."

And they do so,
but we see the passing of no soul.

He has sight and there are forms,
but the organ does not perceive them;
he has hearing and there are sounds,
but the organ does not perceive them;
he has smell and there are odours,
but the organ does not perceive them,
he has a tongue and there are tastes,
but the organ does not perceive them;
he has a body and there are tangibles,
but the organ does not perceive them.

This, Master Kassapa, is for me evidence
that there is neither another world,
nor rebirth other than of parents,
nor fruit or result of deeds
well or ill-done.'

19. 'Well then, Prince,
I will give you a simile,
for by way of a simile
some wise men discern the meaning of what is said.

Once upon a time, Prince,
a certain trumpeter,
taking his trumpet of chank-shell,
travelled to the folk on the border.

When he came to a certain village,
he stood in its midst
and blew thrice on his trumpet,
then laying it on the ground
sat down beside it.

Now, Prince, those border folk thought:

"Whose is this sound so charming,
so lovely,
so sweet,
so constraining,
so enervating?"

Coming together they asked the trumpeter.

"This, my masters,
is what men call a trumpet,
the sound whereof is so charming,
so lovely,
so sweet,
so constraining,
so enervating."

They laid the trumpet on its back
and said:

"Speak, master trumpet!
speak, master trumpet!"

No sound did the trumpet make.

They laid the trumpet curving downward,
on this side,
on that side,
they stood it upright,
[362] they stood it topsy turvy,
they struck it with their hands,
with a clod,
with a stick,
with a sword,
on one side,
on the other,
on every side,
saying:

"Speak, master trumpet!
speak, master trumpet!"

Then, Prince, the trumpeter thought:

"How silly are these border born men!

Why will they seek so senselessly for the trumpet's sound?"

And while they looked on,
he took his trumpet,
blew thrice upon it and,
taking it with him,
went away.

Then, Prince, those border born men thought thus:

"When forsooth there was with that trumpet a man,
and an effort,
and air,
that same trumpet made sounds.

But when there was with it neither man,
nor effort,
nor air,
that same trumpet made no sounds."

Even so, Prince, when this body has its concomitants of life,
heat
and intelligence,
then it goes about and comes back,
it stands
and sits
and lies down,
it sees forms with the eye,
hears sounds with the ear,
smells odours with the smell,
tastes tastes with the tongue,
touches the tangible with the body,
cognizes things with the mind.

But when it lacks those three concomitants,
it can do none of these things.

Let this, Prince, be to you a proof
that there both is another world,
rebirth other than of parents,
and fruit and result of deeds
well and ill-done.'

20. 'Even though Master Kassapa says this,
it still appears to me
that there is neither another world,
nor rebirth other than of parents,
nor fruit or result of deeds
well or ill-done.'

'Have you any further evidence, Prince?'

'I have, Master Kassapa.'

'What may that be like?'

'Take the case, Master Kassapa,
of men who have taken a felon red-handed
and bring him up, saying:

"My lord, we caught this felon in the act;
inflict on him what penalty you wish."

And I say:

"Well, my masters,
flay this man alive,
perchance we may see the soul of him passing out."

They do so, but no passing of the soul of him do we see.

And in cutting out his integument,
and his flesh,
and his nerves,
and breaking his bones
and extracting the marrow thereof,
still no [363] soul of him do we see.

This, Master Kassapa, is for me
evidence that there is neither another world,
nor rebirth other than of parents,
nor fruit or result of deeds
well or ill-done.'

21. 'Well now, Prince,
I will give you a simile,
for it is by way of a simile
that some intelligent men discern the meaning of what is spoken.

Once upon a time, Prince,
a fire-worshipping Jaṭila
was dwelling in a leaf-hut
in a woodland spot.

Now the people of a certain country-side migrated.

And their leader,
after spending one night near the Jaṭila's hermitage,
went away.

Then the Jaṭila thought:

"If I were to go to that leader's camp,
I might perhaps get something useful."

And rising up betimes
he came to the leader's camp,
and there he saw,
abandoned and lying on its back
a little baby.

And when he saw it he thought:

"It is not fit
that I should let a human being die
while I look on.

What if I were to carry this baby to my hermitage,
and foster,
tend,
and rear it?

"So he carried the baby to his hermitage,
and fostered,
tended,
and reared it.

When the boy had attained the age of ten or twelve years,
it happened that the Jaṭila had something or other to do in the country-side.

So he said to the boy:

"I want to go to the country-side, my lad;
keep up the fire;
do not let it go out.

If it should go out,
here is a hatchet,
here are sticks,
here is the fire drill,
so that if you do let the fire out,
you can rekindle it again."

And having thus instructed the boy,
the Jaṭila went off to the country-side.

Intent upon his play,
the boy let the fire out.

Then he thought:

"Father told me,

'Tend the fire, my lad;
let it not go out.

If it should go out,
here is a hatchet,
here are sticks,
here is the fire drill,
so that if you do let the fire out,
you can rekindle it again.'

What if I were now to do so?

"Then the boy chopped the fire drill with the hatchet, thinking

"Perhaps that's how I shall get fire."

No fire got he.

He split the fire drill in twain,
in three,
four,
five,
ten,
a hundred pieces,
he made it into piecemeal,
he then pounded it in a mortar,
and winnowed it in the wind,
thinking that so he might [364] perhaps get fire.

No fire got he.

Then the Jaṭila,
having accomplished his business,
came back to his own hermitage
and said to the boy:

"Why, child, you have let the fire out!"

"Father, the fire went out
because I was busy at my game.

Then I thought of what you had told me,
and I set about rekindling it.

And I chopped the fire drill with the hatchet to get fire,
but no fire came.

And I went on till I had smashed the fire drill into atoms,
pounded it in a mortar
and winnowed it in the wind,
but I never got any fire!

"Then the Jaṭila thought:

"How silly, how unintelligent is the lad!

Why will he be seeking fire in this senseless manner?

"And while the boy looked on,
he took a fire drill,
and making fire
said to him:

"This is how to make fire, my lad.

One doesn't try to get it as you,
so silly and unintelligent,
were trying."

Even so, Prince, have you,
silly and unintelligent,
sought after another world.

Renounce, Prince, this evil set of opinions.

Let them not involve you for long in bale and sorrow!'

22. 'Even though Master Kassapa says this,
I still cannot bring myself to renounce
this evil set of opinions.

King Pasenadi the Kosalan knows me,
and so do foreign kings,
as holding to the creed
and the opinion
that there is neither another world
nor rebirth other than of parents,
nor fruit or result of deeds
well and ill-done.

If I, Master Kassapa, renounce these opinions,
people will say of me:

"How silly is Prince Pāyāsi,
how unintelligent,
how badly he grasps anything!

"In wrath thereat will I keep to it.

In guile will I keep to it.

In self-respect will I keep to it!'

23. 'Well then, Prince,
I will give you a simile;
for it is by way of a simile that some intelligent men
discern the meaning of what has been said.

Once upon a time, Prince,
a great caravan of a thousand carts
was going from the East country
into the West country.

Wherever it went,
it consumed swiftly
straw,
wood,
water
and verdure.

Now in that caravan
were two caravan leaders,
each commanding one half of the carts.

And this occurred to them:

[365] '"This is a great caravan,
one of a thousand carts.

Wherever we go,
we consume everything.

What if we were to divide this caravan into two,
five hundred carts in each."

'So they divided that caravan into two equal portions.

Then one of the leaders collected large quantities of straw,
wood
and water,
and started [his carts].

On the second or third march
the leader saw a swarthy red-eyed man
coming from the opposite direction,
armed with a quiver,
wearing a lotus wreath,
his garments and hair wet,
and driving a chariot drawn by asses,
its wheel splashed with mud.

When he saw this man he said:

"Whence come you, Sir?"

'"From such and such a district"

'"Whither go you?"

'"To such and such a district."

'"Has there, Sir, been any great fall of rain
recently in the jungle?"

'"Yes indeed, Sir, there has been a great rain
in the jungle just in front,
the roads are well watered,
there is much grass
and wood
and water.

Throw away the grass
and wood
and water,
Sir, you have already got;
with light-laden carts
you will go quite quickly;
do not tire your teams."

'Then the leader told his carters
what the man had said,
and bade them throw away their provender
and wood,
that the caravan might travel more quickly.

'"So be it, sir,"
the carters replied,
and did so.

But at their first camp
they saw no grass
or wood
or water,
nor at the second,
third,
fourth,
fifth,
sixth
or seventh camp.

So they all met with ruin and disaster.

And then that fiend, the yakkha,
devoured all the men and the cattle in that caravan,
leaving only the bones behind.

'When the second caravan leader
knew that the other caravan had got well on its way,
he took in large supplies of grass
and wood
and water
and set out.

And he too met a swarthy red-eyed man,
and exchanged with him the same remarks,
and was also bidden to throw away his provender.

[366] 'Then that leader said to his carters:

"This man, sirs, says that there has recently been much rain in the jungle,
that the roads are watered,
and there is plenty of grass
and wood
and water.

And he advises us to throw away our provender,
so that, with lightened carts
we may travel quicker
and not weary our teams.

But this man, Sirs,
is not a friend of ours,
nor a kinsman,
nor of our blood.

Why should we act as if we trusted him?

Our stock of provender is not to be thrown away;
let the caravan proceed
with the goods we brought;
let us not part with what we have."

'"So be it, sir,"
agreed the carters,
and went on with the stock they had loaded.

And at seven successive camping places
they saw no grass
or wood
or water;
but they saw the other caravan
that had come to grief.

And they saw the skeletons
of the men and cattle
devoured by that yakkha fiend.

'Then the caravan leader said to the carters:

"That caravan, my masters,
met with ruin and disaster,
through having that silly caravan leader for its guide.

Well then, let us leave here
such of our wares as are of little value,
and take from that caravan
such wares as are of great value.

"So be it, master,"
replied the carters,
and made the transfer,
and passed safely through the jungle,
through having this wise caravan leader
for their guide.[7]

'Even so you, Prince,
silly and unintelligent,
will meet with ruin and disaster
in that you seek so senselessly after another world,
even like that former caravan leader.

They who fancy
that they can believe whatever they hear,
will meet with ruin and disaster,
even like those carters.

Renounce, Prince,
this evil set of opinions;
renounce them, I say!

Let them not involve you long
in bale and sorrow!'

24. 'Even though Master Kassapa says this,
I still [367] cannot bring myself to renounce this evil set of opinions.

King Pasenadi the Kosalan knows me,
and so do foreign kings,
as holding to the creed and the opinion
that there is neither another world,
nor rebirth other than of parents by human parentage,
nor fruit or result of deeds well and ill-done.

If I, master Kassapa, renounce these opinions people will say of me:

"How silly is prince Pāyāsi,
how unintelligent,
how badly he grasps anything!"

In wrath thereat will I keep to it.

In guile will I keep to it.

In self-respect will I keep to it!'

25. 'Well then, Prince, I will give you a simile,
for it is by way of a simile
that some intelligent men discern the meaning of what has been said.

Once upon a time, Prince,
a certain swineherd was going from his own village to another village.

There he saw a heap of dry dung thrown away.

Seeing it he thought:

"Thats a lot of dry dung thrown away which will feed my pigs.

What if I were to carry it away?

"So he spread out his cloak
and collecting the dry dung
tied it into a bundle
and lifting it on to his head went on.

In the after-part of his journey
there fell a heavy shower of rain out of season.

He, splashed with muck to his nail-tips,
bearing his oozing,
dripping dung-burden,
went on his way.

And men seeing him said:

"Gramercy, you must be mad,
you must be out of your senses!

How can you tote along that oozing,
dripping load of dung,
splashed with muck to your nail-tips?"

"It's you that are mad,
you that are out of your senses;
by this my pigs will get food."

Even so, methinks, Prince, do you talk,
like this dung-carrying simile.

Renounce, Prince, this evil set of opinions,
renounce them, I say!

Let them not be long a cause of bale and sorrow to you.'

26. 'Even though Master Kassapa says this,
I cannot bring myself to renounce this evil set of opinions.

King Pasenadi the Kosalan knows me,
and so do foreign kings,
as holding to the creed and the opinion
that there is neither another world,
nor rebirth other than of parents by human parentage,
nor fruit or result of deeds well and ill-done.

If I, master Kassapa, renounce these opinions people will say of me:

"How silly is prince Pāyāsi,
how [368] unintelligent,
how badly he grasps anything!"

In wrath thereat will I keep to it.

In guile will I keep to it.

In self-respect will I keep to it!'

27. 'Well then, Prince, I will give you a simile,
for it is by way of a simile
that some intelligent men discern the meaning of what is said.

Once upon a time, Prince,
two gamesters were playing with dice.

One gamester swallowed as it came
each adverse die.

The other gamester saw him do this and said:

"Look here, friend, you've won outright;
give me the dice;
I will make a votive offering of them."

"Good, friend,"
said the other,
and handed over the dice.

Then the second gamester
smeared over the dice with poison,
and proposed to the former:

"Come along, friend, let's play."

"Good, friend," replied the other.

Again, therefore, they played,
and again that gamester swallowed each adverse die.

The second gamester saw him doing so and said:

The man knows not the swallowed die
With sharpest burning is smeared o'er.
Swallow, you false cheat, swallow now!
Bitter the hour at hand for you![8]

'Even like the simile of the gamester, Prince,
methinks is what you say.

Renounce, Prince, this evil set of opinions,
renounce them, I say!

Let them not be long a source of bale and sorrow to you!

28. 'Even though Master Kassapa says this,
I still cannot bring myself to renounce
this evil set of opinions.

King Pasenadi the Kosalan knows me,
and so do foreign [369] kings,
as holding to the creed and the opinion
that there is neither another world,
nor rebirth other than of parents by human parentage,
nor fruit or result of deeds well and ill-done.

If I, master Kassapa, renounce these opinions people will say of me:

"How silly is prince Pāyāsi,
how unintelligent,
how badly he grasps anything!"

In wrath thereat will I keep to it.

In guile will I keep to it.

In self-respect will I keep to it!'

29. 'Well then, Prince, I will give you a simile,
for it is by way of a simile
that some intelligent men
discern the meaning of what is said.

Once upon a time, Prince,
a certain country-side migrated.

And one man said to his crony:

"Let's go friend, to that country-side;
perhaps we may come upon some treasure."

" Good, friend," assented the other.

And they came to where,
in that country-side,
there was a certain village street.

There they saw a heap of hemp thrown away.

Then one said to the other:

"Here's a heap of hemp:
do you make some into a bundle,
I'll do the same and we'll carry it away."

The other consented,
and they did so.

'Bearing this burden
they went on to another village street.

There they saw a heap of hempen thread thrown away,
and one said to the other:

"This heap of hempen thread thrown away
is just the thing we want hemp for.

Well then, friend,
you throw away your load of hemp,
I'll throwaway mine,
and we'll take away each a load of hempen thread."

"I've brought this load of hemp a long way, friend,
and it's well tied up —
that's enough for me;
you choose for yourself."

So the former changed his load
for one of hempen thread.

'Then they came to another village street.

There they saw a heap of hempen cloths.

And the one said to the other:

"This heap of hempen cloths
is just the thing we want hemp for,
or hempen thread for.

Well then, friend,
do you throw away your load of hemp,
I'll throw away my load of hempen thread,
and we'll each take a load of hempen cloth."

"I've brought this load of hemp a long way, friend,
and it's [370] well tied up —
that's enough for me;
you choose for yourself."

So the former changed his load
for one of hempen cloth.

'Then they came to another village street.

There they saw a heap of flax;
and to another where they saw linen thread;
and to another where they saw linen cloth.

And at each place the one crony made a change for the better,
the other retained his hemp.

Further they saw cotton-down,
cotton thread
and calico;
and the same thing happened.

Further they saw iron,
copper,
tin,
lead,
silver,
gold.

So that in the end the one crony had a load of gold,
the other of hemp.

'So they came to their own village.

There the crony who brought a load of hemp pleased neither his parents,
nor his own family,
nor his friends,
and won neither pleasure or happiness.

But the other
with his load of gold
both gave and won pleasure.

'Even like the simile of the load of hemp, methinks Prince,
is what you say.

Renounce, Prince, this evil set of opinions,
renounce them, I say!

Let them not be long a source of bale and sorrow to you.'

30. 'With Master Kassapa's first simile
I was pleased,
I was charmed;
moreover I wanted to hear his ready wit in questions,
for I regarded Master Kassapa
as one who was to be opposed.

It is wonderful, Master Kassapa,
it is marvellous!
just as if one were to set up what has been upset,
or were to reveal that which has been hidden away,
or were to point out the road to the bewildered,
or were to bring a lamp into the darkness,
so that they that have eyes may see —
even so has the truth been declared in many a figure
by Master Kassapa.

And I, even I,
betake myself for refuge to Gotama the Exalted One,
to the Doctrine
and to the Brotherhood.

May Master Kassapa accept me as a disciple,
as one who from this day forth
as long as life endures,
has taken him as his guide.

And I should like, Master Kassapa,
to offer a great sacrifice.

Let Master Kassapa instruct me herein
that it may bring me long welfare and happiness.'

31. 'At the sort of sacrifice, Prince, where oxen are [371] slain,
or goats,
or fowls
and pigs,
or divers creatures are put an end to;
and those that take part in the sacrifice have wrong views,
wrong intention,
wrong speech,
wrong action,
wrong livelihood,
wrong endeavour,
wrong mindfulness,
wrong rapture,
such a sacrifice, Prince,
is neither of great fruitfulness
nor of great profit,
nor of great renown,
nor of widespread effect.[9]

It is just as if a farmer, Prince,
were to enter a wood
taking with him plough and seed,
and were there,
in an untilled tract,
in unfavourable soil,
among unuprooted stumps,
to plant seeds that were broken,
rotten,
spoilt by wind and heat,
out of season,
not in good condition,
and the god were not to give good rain in due season.

Would those seeds attain to growth,
increase
and expansion,
or would the farmer get abundant returns?'

'No indeed, Master Kassapa.'

'So is it, Prince,
with that sort of sacrifice.

But where, Prince, neither oxen are slain,
nor goats,
nor fowls
and pigs,
nor are divers creatures put an end to,
and those that partake of the sacrifice
have right views,
right intention,
right speech,
right action,
right livelihood,
right endeavour,
right mindfulness,
right rapture,
such a sacrifice is of great fruitfulness,
of great profit,
of great renown,
of widespread effect.

It is just as if a farmer, Prince,
were to enter a wood,
taking with him plough and seed,
and were there,
in a well-tilled tract,
in favourable soil
well cleared of stumps,
to plant seed that was unbroken,
free from mildew,
unspoilt by wind or heat,
in season
and in good condition,
and the god were to give good rain in due season.

W'ould those seeds grow,
increase,
expand,
and would the farmer get abundant returns?'

'He would indeed, Master Kassapa.'

'So is it, Prince,
with that sort of sacrifice,
where neither oxen are slain,
nor goats,
nor fowls
and pigs,
nor are divers creatures put an end to,
and those that partake [372] of the sacrifice
have right views,
right intention,
right speech,
right action,
right livelihood,
right endeavour,
right mindfulness,
right rapture.

Such a sacrifice is of great fruitfulness,
profit,
renown
and widespread effect.'

32. Then Prince Pāyāsi instituted a gift to Wanderers and Brahmins,
the poor,
wayfarers,
beggars
and petitioners.

In that gift such food was given
as gruel
and scraps of food,
and coarse robes with ball-fringes.[10]

And at that gift
a young brahmin named Uttara
was passed over.[11]

When the largesse had been distributed
he mocked, saying:

'By this largesse
I have met Prince Pāyāsi in this world,
but how about the next?[12]'

Pāyāsi heard of this,
and sent word to Uttara
asking him if it was true
that he was saying this?

'Yes, sir,' replied Uttara.

'But why have you been saying this,
my dear Uttara?

Do not we who are seeking merit
look for result from giving?'

'In your gift, sir,
such food as gruel and broken meats are given
which you, sir, would not touch with your foot,
much less eat;
also coarse ball-fringed robes
which you, sir, would not deign to use as carpets,
much less to wear.

You, sir, are pleasant and dear to us;
how are we to associate what is pleasant and dear
with what is unpleasant?'

'Well then, my dear Uttara,
do you arrange that such food shall be given as I eat,
and such garments be given as I wear.'

'Very good, sir,' replied Uttara,
and did so.[13]

[373] Now prince Pāyāsi,
inasmuch as he had bestowed his gift without thoroughness,
not with his own hands,
without due thought,
as something discarded,
was, after his death,
reborn into the communion of the Four Great Kings[14],
in the empty mansion of the Acacia.

But the youth Uttara,
who had objected to that gift
and had bestowed his gift thoroughly,
with his own hands,
with due thought,
not as something discarded,
was, after his death,
reborn in a bright and happy world,
into the communion of the Three-and-Thirty Gods.

33. Now at that time the venerable Gavampati[15] used frequently to go for siesta
to the empty mansion of the Acacia.

And Pāyāsi,
now one of the gods,
came up to him and,
saluting him,
stood on one side.

To him so standing the venerable Gavampati said:

'Who art thou, friend?'

'I, sir, am prince Pāyāsi.'

'Wert thou not once of the opinion
that there was no other world,
no rebirth other than of parents,
no fruit or result of deeds
well or ill-done?'

'I was indeed, sir,
but through his reverence Kumāra Kassapa
I detached myself from that evil set of opinions.'

'But the youth Uttara,
who objected to thy gift, friend,
whereunto has he been reborn?'

'He, Sir, having objected to my gift,
and having himself bestowed a gift thoroughly,
with his own hands,
with due thought,
not as something discarded,
has, since he died,
been reborn in the bright and happy world,
into the communion of the Three-and-Thirty Gods.

I, sir, inasmuch as I bestowed my gift without thoroughness,
not with my own hand,
without due thought,
as something discarded,
was after my death [374] reborn into the communion of the Four Great Kings,
in the empty mansion of Acacia.

Wherefore, Gavampati, Sir,
go thou into the world of men and tell them:

"Give ye your gifts with thoroughness,
with your own hands,
with due thought,
and give not as if ye were discarding somewhat.

For so did not prince Pāyāsi;
and he after his death
was reborn into the communion of the Four Great Kings,
in the empty mansion of the Acacia.

But the youth Uttara,
who bestowed his gifts in the right way,
was after his death reborn in the bright and happy world,
into the communion of the Three-and-Thirty Gods."'

34. So the venerable Gavampati came back to the world of men,
and there told these things.

The Pāyāsi Dialogue is ended.

 


[1] The touching story of his birth is told in the Introductory Story to the twelfth Jātaka, translated in Rhys Davids's 'Buddhist Birth Stories,' pp. 199 ff. [JAT 12] He was declared by the Buddha to be the best of the preachers in the Order (A. I, 24). Kumāra was a nickname, 'The Boy' (because he was Ordained so young), which distinguished him from the other Kassapas in the Order, and clung to him even in advanced years. It was the more appropriate, as Kumāra means a boy of good family, a young gentleman, a master; and Kassapa, the son of a clansman, had been brought up at Pasenadi's court.

[2] See Vol. I, p. 108, note 1.

[3] The expression is somewhat ambiguous. See the note on 1,145.

Two sticks are held in parallel. The first stick scrapes off the mire and the second stick pushes away the film of mire that rises up as it is scraped along the body. If there were only one stick the mire would fall back on the body. Do not ask me how I come to be so well acquainted with the methods for scraping mire off the body.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

[4] No doubt a sort of brush made of split bamboo.

[5] How elaborate were the coiffures used by men at this date may be seen from the illustration in Rhys Davids's 'Buddhist India,' p.97.

[6] Velāmikā, 'very young and childish.' says Buddhaghosa here. Above, p. 231, it seems to be a clan name, but used in a similar connexion.

[7] This story has been turned into a Jātaka by identifying the hero as the Buddha in a previous birth, and has been made the first story in the collection afterwards put together as the Jātaka Book. It is one of twelve stories in that book found in the older texts. See 'Buddhist India,' p. 195.

[8] This story is also in the Jātaka Book, I, 380. The modus operandi of the cheat is rendered obscure by our ignorance of the game played. Lüders in his 'Würfelspiel der alten Inder' has shown that the dice were seeds of a tree called the Vibhītaka, and that the usual game was probably to throw a number of seeds on a board, having previously fixed on a certain number.
The seeds fell some upright, some on their sides. Only the upright ones counted.
If they were less than the agreed number it was a draw; if equal the thrower won and threw again; if more he lost, and lost the throw.
An extra seed was called the kali, 'the unlucky die.' This the cheat seems to have managed to pick up, and swallow.

[9] So of the sacrifice intended by the Very Reverend Sir Gold-stick Sharp-tooth in the Kūṭadanta. See especially above, I, 163.

[10] To keep the robes down.

[11] Vyāvaṭo. This became almost a technical term in connexion with largesse. It is literally 'hindered'; but when the things to be given were too limited as compared with the number of applicants, some had to be passed over. They were dāna-vyāvaṭa 'hindered at the largesse' (Jat. Ill, 129). Compare D. II, 141; Sum. I, 296; Jat. I, 89; VVA. 298. But here perhaps it may simply mean 'objected to the largesse.'

[12] Literally 'do not associate (with him) in the next.' The gibe intended must be very nearly as we have rendered. But both the reading of the text and the grammatical construction are doubtful. The word we have rendered 'mocked' (uddissati) has only been found here. Perhaps it means 'showed (the matter) up,' which comes to much the same as to point the finger of mockery.

[13] Apparently at his own cost.

[14] The guardian spirits of the four quarters. See the Introduction to the Maha-samaya Suttanta.

[15] He had been the son of a merchant at Benares; and had been received into the Order by the Buddha at the very beginning of his career as a teacher (Vin. I, 19). This legend supposes him, still a man, going for meditation to the lower heavens.


Contact:
E-mail
Copyright Statement   Webmaster's Page