Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
I. Mūlapaṇṇāsa
3. Tatiya Vagga

The Middle Length Sayings
I. The First Fifty Discourses
3. The Third Division

Sutta 24

Ratha-Vinīta Suttaɱ[1]

Discourse on the Relays of Chariots

Translated from the Pali by I.B. Horner, M.A.
Associate of Newham College, Cambridge
First Published in 1954

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[1][chlm][than][upal] Thus have I heard:

At one time the Lord was staying near Rāagaha in the Bamboo Grove at the squirrels' feeding place.

Then a number of monks, living in their native district,[2] having kept the rains locally,[2] approached the Lord; having approached, having greeted the Lord, they sat down at a respectful distance.

The Lord spoke thus to these monks as they were sitting down at a respectful distance:

"Who, monks, among the monks living in their native district, is esteemed by his local fellow Brahma-farers in this way: both as one desiring little for himself and as being one who talks to the monks on desiring little; both as one who is content for himself and as one who talks to the monks on contentment; both as one who is aloof himself and as one who talks to the monks on aloofness; both as one who is not sociable[3] himself and as one who talks to the monks about not being sociable; both as one of stirred up energy himself and as one who talks to the monks on stirring up energy; both as one who is himself endowed with moral habit and as one who talks to the monks on the attainment of moral habit; both as one who is himself endowed with concentration and as one who talks to the monks on the attainment of concentration; both as one who is himself endowed with intuitive wisdom[4] and as one who talks to monks on the attainment of intuitive wisdom; both as one who is himself endowed with freedom and as one who talks to monks on the attainment of freedom; both as one who is himself endowed with the knowledge and vision of freedom and as one who talks to [188] the monks on the attainment of the knowledge and vision of freedom;[5] an exhorter,[6] instructor, one who can gladden, arouse, incite, delight his fellow Brahma-farers?"

"Lord, the venerable Puṇṇa, Mantāṇī's son[7], is among the monks living in their native district, is esteemed by his local fellow Brahma-farers in this way: both as one desiring little for himself and as being one who talks to the monks on desiring little; both as one who is content for himself and as one who talks to the monks on contentment; both as one who is aloof himself and as one who talks to the monks on aloofness; both as one who is not sociable himself and as one who talks to the monks about not being sociable; both as one of stirred up energy himself and as one who talks to the monks on stirring up energy; both as one who is himself endowed with moral habit and as one who talks to the monks on the attainment of moral habit; both as one who is himself endowed with concentration and as one who talks to the monks on the attainment of concentration; both as one who is himself endowed with intuitive wisdom and as one who talks to monks on the attainment of intuitive wisdom; both as one who is himself endowed with freedom and as one who talks to monks on the attainment of freedom; both as one who is himself endowed with the knowledge and vision of freedom and as one who talks to the monks on the attainment of the knowledge and vision of freedom; an exhorter, instructor, one who can gladden, arouse, incite, delight his fellow Brahma-farers."

Now at that time the venerable Sāriputta was sitting close to the Lord.

Then it occurred to the venerable Sāriputta: "It is profitable for the venerable Puṇṇa, Mantāṇī's son, it is well gotten for the venerable Puṇṇa, Mantāṇī's son, that his well informed fellow Brahma-farers praise him point by point when they are face-to-face with the Teacher, and that the Teacher approves of him.

Perhaps I might meet the venerable Puṇṇa, Mantāṇī's, somewhere sometime.

Perhaps there might be some conversation (with him)."

Then the Lord, having stayed near Rājagaha for as long as he found suitable, set out on tour for Sāvatthī; in due coursae, walking on tour, he arrived at Sāvatthī.

The Lord stayed here near Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika's monastery.

Then the venerable Puṇṇa, Mantāṇī's son, heard: "They say the Lord has reached Sāvatthī and is staying near Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika's monastery." Then the venerable Puṇṇa, Mantāṇī's son, having packed away his bedding[8] taking his bowl and robe, set out on tour for Sāvatthī; in due course, walking on tour, he approached Sāvatthī, the Jeta Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika's monastery, and the Lord; having approached, having greeted the Lord, he sat down at a respectful distance.

The Lord gladdened, roused, incited, delighted the venerable Puṇṇa, Mantāṇī's son, with talk on Dhamma as he was sitting down at a respectful distance.

Then the venerable Puṇṇa, Mantāṇī's son, gladdened, roused, incited, delighted by the Lord's talk on Dhamma, having rejoiced and being satisfied, rising from his seat, having greeted the Lord, and keeping [189] his right side towards him, set out for the day-sojourn in the Blind Men's Grove.[9]

Then a certain monk approached the venerable Sāriputta; having approached, he spoke thus to the venerable Sāriputta: "Inasmuch as you, reverend Sāriputta, are continually extolling the monk called Puṇṇa, Mantāṇī's son, he gladdened, roused, incited, delighted by theLord's talk on Dhamma, having rejoiced in what the Lord had said, and being satisfied, rising from his seat, having greeted the Lord and keeping his right side towards him, is setting out for the Blind Men's Grove for the day-sojourn."

Then the venerable Sāriputta, hurriedly taking his piece of cloth to sit upon[10], followed close after the venerable Puṇṇa, Mantāṇī's son, keeping him in sight.

Then the venerable Puṇṇa, Mantāṇī's son, having plunged into the Blind men's grove, sat down at the root of a tree for the day-sojourn.

Then the venerable Sāriputta, having also plunged into the Blind Men's Grove, sat down at the root of a tree for the day-sojourn.

Then the venerable Sāriputta, having emerged from solitary meditation towards evening, approached the venerable Puṇṇa, Mantāṇī's son; having approached, he exchanged greeting with the venerable Puṇṇa, Mantāṇī's son; having exchanged greetings of friendliness and courtesy, he sat down at one side.

As he was sitting down at one side, the venerable Sāriputta spoke thus to the venerable Puṇṇa, Mantāṇī's son:

"Your reverence, is the Brahma-faring lived under our Lord?"

"Yes, your reverence."

"Your reverence, is the Brahma-faring lived under the Lord for purity of moral habit?"[11]

"Not for this, your reverence."

"Then, your reverence, is not the Brahman-faring lived under the Lord for purity of mind?"

"Not for this, your reverence."

"Then, your reverence, is the Brahma-faring lived under the Lord for purity of view?"[12]

"Not for this, your reverence."

[190] "Then, your reverence, is not the Brahma-faring lived under the Lord for purity through crossing over doubt?"[13]

"Not for this, your reverence."

"Then, your reverence, is the Brahma-faring lived under the Lord for purity of knowledge and insight into the Way and what is not the Way?"

"Not for this, your reverence."

"Then, your reverence, is not the Brahma-faring lived under the Lord for purity of knowledge and insight into the course?"[14]

"Not for this, your reverence."

"Then, your reverence, is not the Brahma-faring lived under the Lord for purity arising from knowledge and insight?"[15]

"Not for this, your reverence."

But when you, your reverence, are being asked: "Your reverence, is the Brahma-faring lived under the Lord for purity of moral habit?"
You say: "Not for this, your reverence."

And when you, your reverence, are being asked: "Then, your reverence, is not the Brahman-faring lived under the Lord for purity of mind?"
You say: "Not for this, your reverence."

And when you, your reverence, are being asked: "Then, your reverence, is the Brahma-faring lived under the Lord for purity of view?"
You say: "Not for this, your reverence."

And when you, your reverence, are being asked: "Then, your reverence, is not the Brahma-faring lived under the Lord for purity through crossing over doubt?"
You say: "Not for this, your reverence."

And when you, your reverence, are being asked: "Then, your reverence, is the Brahma-faring lived under the Lord for purity of knowledge and insight into the Way and what is not the Way?"
You say: "Not for this, your reverence."

And when you, your reverence, are being asked: "Then, your reverence, is not the Brahma-faring lived under the Lord for purity of knowledge and insight into the course?"
You say: "Not for this, your reverence."

And when you, your reverence, are being asked: "Then, your reverence, is not the Brahma-faring lived under the Lord for purity arising from knowledge and insight?"
You say: "Not for this, your reverence."

What is the reason, then, your reverence, that the Brahma-faring is lived under the Lord?

"The Brahma-faring under the Lord, your reverence, is lived for utter Nibbāna without attachment."[16]

"Your reverence, is purity of moral habit utter Nibbāna without attachment?"

It is not this, your reverence."

"Your reverence, is not purity of mind utter Nibbāna without attachment?"

It is not this, your reverence."

[191] "Then your reverence, is purity of view utter Nibbāna without attachment?"

It is not this, your reverence."

"Then your reverence, is not purity through crossing over doubt utter Nibbāna without attachment?"

It is not this, your reverence."

"Then your reverence, is purity of knowledge and insight into the Way and what is not the Way utter Nibbāna without attachment?"

It is not this, your reverence."

"Then your reverence, is not purity of knowledge and insight into the course utter Nibbāna without attachment?"

It is not this, your reverence."

"Then your reverence, is purity arising from knowledge and insight utter Nibbāna without attachment?"

It is not this, your reverence."

But, your reverence, what is utter Nibbāna without attachment except these states?

It is not this, your reverence."

"But when you, your reverence, are being asked: "Your reverence, is purity of moral habit utter Nibbāna without attachment?"
you say: "It is not this, your reverence."

And when you, your reverence, are being asked: "Your reverence, is not purity of mind utter Nibbāna without attachment?"
you say: "It is not this, your reverence."

And when you, your reverence, are being asked: "Then your reverence, is purity of view utter Nibbāna without attachment?"
you say: "It is not this, your reverence."

And when you, your reverence, are being asked: "Then your reverence, is not purity through crossing over doubt utter Nibbāna without attachment?"
you say: "It is not this, your reverence."

And when you, your reverence, are being asked: "Then your reverence, is purity of knowledge and insight into the Way and what is not the Way utter Nibbāna without attachment?"
you say: "It is not this, your reverence."

And when you, your reverence, are being asked: "Then your reverence, is not purity of knowledge and insight into the course utter Nibbāna without attachment?"
you say: "It is not this, your reverence."

And when you, your reverence, are being asked: "Then your reverence, is purity arising from knowledge and insight utter Nibbāna without attachment?"
you say: "It is not this, your reverence."

And when you, your reverence, are being asked: "But, your reverence, what is utter Nibbāna without attachment except these states?
you say: "It is not this, your reverence."

But, your reverence, the meaning of what has been said should have been shown as it was spoken."

"If, your reverence, the Lord had laid down that purity of moral habit was utter Nibbāna without attachment, he would have laid down that utter Nibbāna without attachment is the same as that with attachment.

"If, your reverence, the Lord had laid down that purity of mind was utter Nibbāna without attachment, he would have laid down that utter Nibbāna without attachment is the same as that with attachment.

"If, your reverence, the Lord had laid down that purity of view was utter Nibbāna without attachment, he would have laid down that utter Nibbāna without attachment is the same as that with attachment.

"If, your reverence, the Lord had laid down that purity through crossing over doubt was utter Nibbāna without attachment, he would have laid down that utter Nibbāna without attachment is the same as that with attachment.

"If, your reverence, the Lord had laid down that purity of knowledge and insight into the Way and what is not the Way was utter Nibbāna without attachment, he would have laid down that utter Nibbāna without attachment is the same as that with attachment.

"If, your reverence, the Lord had laid down that purity of knowledge and insight into the course was utter Nibbāna without attachment, he would have laid down that utter Nibbāna without attachment is the same as that with attachment.

"If, your reverence, the Lord had laid down that purity arising from knowledge and insight was utter Nibbāna without attachment, he would have laid down that utter Nibbāna without attachment is the same as [192] that with attachment.

And, your reverence, if there were utter Nibbāna without attachment apart from these states, the average person would be (attained to) utter Nibbāna, for the average person, your reverence, is apart from these states.

Well then, your reverence, I will make you a parable, for by a parable well-informed men here understand the meaning of what is said.

Your reverence, it is as though while King Pasenadi of Kosala was staying in Sāvatthī, something to be done urgently should arise in Sāketa, and seven relays of chariots would be arranged for him between Sāvatthī and Sāketa.

Then, your reverence, King Pasenadi of Kosala, having left Sāvatthī by the palace-gate, might mount the first chariot in the relay, and by means of the first chariot in the relay he would reach the second chariot in the relay.

He would dismiss the first chariot in the relay and would mount the second chariot in the relay he would reach the third chariot in the relay ...

the fourth ...

the fifth ...

the sixth ...

and would mount the seventh chariot in the relay, and by means of the seventh chariot in the relay he would reach the palace-gate in Sāketa.

While he was at the palace gate, the chief ministers and his kith and kin would question him thus:

Have you, sire, reached the palace-gate at Sāketa by means of this relay of chariots from Sāvatthī?' Answering in what way, your reverence, would King Pasenadi of Kosala when answering answer rightly?

"Answering thus, your reverence, would King Pasenadi of Kosala when answering answer rightly: 'Now, as I was staying in Sāvatthī something to be done urgently arose in Saketa.

For this they had sevenrelays of chariots arranged for me between Sāvatthī and Sāketa.

Then I, having left Sāvatthī by the palace-gate, mounted the first chariot in the relay, and by means of the first chariot in the relay reached the second chariot in the relay.

I dismissed the first chariot in the relay and mounted the second chariot in the relay.

By means of the second chariot in the relay I reached the third chariot in the relay ...

the fourth ...

the fifth ...

the sixth ...

By means of the sixth chariot in the relay I reached the seventh chariot in the relay.

I dismissed the sixth chariot in the relay and mounted the seventh chariot in the relay.

By means of the seventh chariot in the relay I reached the palace-gate in Sāketa.

Answering, thus, your reverence, King Pasenadi of Kosala when answering would andswer rightly."

"Even so, your reverence, purity of moral habit is of purpose as [193] far as purity of mind;[17] purity of mind is of purpose as far as purity of view; purity of view is of purpose as far as purity through crossing over doubt; purity through crossing over doubt is of purpose as far as purity of knowledge and insight into the Way and what is not the Way; purity of knowledge and insight into the Way and what is not the Way is of purpose as far as purity of knowledge and insight into the course; purity of knowledge and insight into the course is of purpose as far as purity arising from knowledge and insight; purity arising from knowledge and insight is of purpose as far as utter Nibbāna without attachment.

Your reverence, the Brahma-faring under the Lord is lived for the purpose of utter Nibbāna without attachment."

When this had been said, the venerable Sāriputta spoke thus to the venerable Puṇṇa, Mantāṇī's son: "What is the venerable one's name? And how do the fellow Brahma-farers know the venerable one?"

"Puṇṇa is my name, your reverence, and the fellow Brahma-farers know me as Mantāṇī's son."

"It is wonderful, your reverence, it is marvelous, your reverence, that the very deep questions were explained step by step by an instructed disciple who knows the Teacher's instruction properly, namely by the venerable Puṇṇa, Mantāṇī's son.

It is profitable for the fellow Brahma-farers, it is well gotten for the fellow Brahma-farers that they have a chance to see, that they have a chance to visit the venerable Puṇṇa, Mantāṇī's son.

Also, if the fellow Brahma-farers, carrying the venerable Puṇṇa, Mantāṇī's son, on a roll of cloth on their heads,[18] should get a chance to see him, should get a chance to visit him, this would be profitable for them and this would be well gotten for them.

It is profitable for us and it is well gotten for us that we have a chance to see, that we have a chance to visit the venerable Puṇṇa, Mantāṇī's son."

When this had been said, the venerable Puṇṇa, Mantāṇī's son, spoke thus to the venerable Sāriputta:

"What is the venerable one's name? And how do the fellow-Brahma-farers know the venerable one?"

"Upatissa is my name, your reverence, and the fellow-Brahma-farers know me as Sāriputta."

[194] "I have been counseling the worthy disciple whom they liken to the Teacher without knowing that it was the venerable Sāriputta.

If I had known that it was the venerable Sāriputta, I would not have spoken at such length.

"It is wonderful, your reverence, it is marvelous, your reverence, that the very deep questions were asked step by step by an instructed disciple who knows the Teacher's instruction properly, namely by the venerable Sāriputta.

It is profitable for the fellow Brahma-farers, it is well gotten for the fellow Brahma-farers that they have a chance to see, that they have a chance to visit the venerable Sāriputta.

Also, if the fellow Brahma-farers, carrying the venerable Sāriputta, on a roll of cloth on their heads, should get a chance to see him, should get a chance to visit him, this would be profitable for them and this would be well gotten for them.

It is profitable for us and it is well gotten for us that we have a chance to see, that we have a chance to visit the venerable Sāriputta."

In this way these two great beings applauded what theother had so well said.[19]

 


[1] Referred to at MA. i. 92, ii. 246, iii. 6; Vism. 93, 671; SnA. 446; MT. 553.

[2] jātibhūmaka and jātibhūmiyaɱ. Both words occur at A. iii. 366. MA. ii. 135 says jātaṭṭhāna, and instances Kapilavatthu as the jātaṭṭhāna of the Buddha, and hence his jātibhūmi.

[3] asaŋsaṭṭha. See on saŋsaṭṭha viharati B.D. iii. 207. n. 1. MA. ii. 143 gives five kinds of saŋsagga: association through hearing, seeing, conversation, eating with, body.

[4] paññā; MA. ii. 147 says this is worldly and other-worldly knowledge, ñāṇa.

[5] These five "attainments," sampadā, also at Pug. 54; cf. S. i. 139, A. iii. 12 ff; and as khandha at S. v. 162

[6] This and the following epithets are at S. v. 162 applied to Sāriputta (who had just died); see also Miln. 373.

[7] At A. i. 23, S. ii. 156 called chief of speakers on Dhamma. Mentioned at S. iii. 105. His verse is at Thag. 4.

[8] See B.D. i. 153, n. 4; and cf. Pāc. 14, 15 (Vin. iv. 39 ff). Also Vin. ii. 211, quoted MA. ii. 152.

[9] MA. ii. 154, "the Jeta grove was crowded after the meal with nobles, brahmans and so on, and it was impossible to find solitude. But the Blind Men's grove was secluded, like a place for striving."

[10] nisīdana see Vin. iii. 207, 232, and B.D. ii. p. 34, n. 1; p. 87, n. 2.

[11] MA. ii. 155 refers to the fourfold purity in moral habit spoken of at length at Vism. (p. 15 f.).

[12] sīla- and diṭṭhi-visuddhi at D. iii. 214; A. i. 95.

[13] Cf. Ud. 60

[14] paṭipadā Quoted MA. ii. 115.

[15] All these seven acts of purity are found also at D. iii. 288 with two added: purification through wisdom and through freedom. See Dial. iii. 262, n. 3.

[16] Cf. S. iv. 48, v. 29; A. i. 44, iv. 74, v. 65. MA. ii. 156 says that in the view of those who assert that attachment is due to a condition, utter Nibbāna with no attachment means utter Nibbāna due to no condition; if the incomposite realm of deathlessness has not arisen on account of a condition, they speak of it as utter Nibbāna without attachment. This is the end, the peak, the goal (niṭṭhā)

[17] Whatever is purity of mind, this is the goal (attha), this the peak, this the culmination of purity of moral habit, MA. ii. 157.

[18] MA. ii. 158, so that the crowd should see him and be able to question him and hear Dhamma, instead of running about here and there asking where he was.

[19] As at Sutta 5.


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