Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
II. Majjhima-Paṇṇāsa
2. Bhikkhu Vagga

The Middle Length Sayings
II. The Middle Fifty Discourses
2. The Division on Monks

Sutta 63

Cūḷa Māluŋkya Suttaɱ[1]

Lesser Discourse to Māluŋkya (Putta)

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

Copyright The Pali Text Society
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[1][wrrn][thom][chlm][than][ntbb][upal] THUS have I heard:

At one time the Lord was staying near Sāvatthī
in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika's monastery.

Then a reasoning of mind
arose to the venerable Māluŋkyāputta[2]
as he was meditating in solitary seclusion,
thus:

"Those (speculative) views that are not explained,
set aside
and ignored by the Lord:

The world is eternal,
the world is not eternal,
the world is an ending thing,
the world is not an ending thing;
the life-principle is the same as the body,
the life-principle is one thing,
the body another;
the Tathāgata[3] is after dying,
the Tathāgata is not after dying,
the Tathāgata both is and is not after dying,
the Tathāgata neither is nor is not after dying -
the Lord does not explain these to me.

That the Lord does not explain these to me
does not please me,
does not satisfy me,
so I, having approached the Lord,
will question him on the matter.

If [98] the Lord will explain to me
either that the world is eternal
or that the world is not eternal
or that the world is an ending thing,
or that the world is not an ending thing;
that the life-principle is the same as the body,
or that the life-principle is one thing,
the body another;
that the Tathāgata is after dying,
or that the Tathāgata is not after dying,
or that the Tathāgata both is and is not after dying,
or that the Tathāgata neither is nor is not after dying,
then will I fare the Brahma-faring under the Lord.

But if the Lord will not explain to me
either that the world is eternal
or that the world is not eternal
or that the world is an ending thing,
or that the world is not an ending thing;
that the life-principle is the same as the body,
or that the life-principle is one thing,
the body another;
that the Tathāgata is after dying,
or that the Tathāgata is not after dying,
or that the Tathāgata both is and is not after dying,
or that the Tathāgata neither is nor is not after dying,
then will I, disavowing the training,
revert to secular life."

Then the venerable Māluŋkyāputta,
emerging from solitary meditation towards evening,
approached the Lord;
having approaehed,
having greeted the Lord,
he sat down at a respectful distance.

As he was sitting down at a respectful distance,
the venerable Māluŋkyāputta spoke thus to the Lord:

"Now, revered sir, as I was meditating in solitary seclusion,
a reasoning of mind arose to me thus:

'Those (speculative) views that are not explained,
set aside,
ignored by the Lord:

The world is eternal,
the world is not eternal,
the world is an ending thing,
the world is not an ending thing;
the life-principle is the same as the body,
the life-principle is one thing,
the body another;
the Tathāgata is after dying,
the Tathāgata is not after dying,
the Tathāgata both is and is not after dying,
the Tathāgata neither is nor is not after dying -
the Lord does not explain these to me.

That the Lord does not explain these to me
does not please me,
does not satisfy me,
so I, having approached the Lord,
will question him on the matter.

If the Lord will explain to me
either that the world is eternal
or that the world is not eternal
or that the world is an ending thing,
or that the world is not an ending thing;
that the life-principle is the same as the body,
or that the life-principle is one thing,
the body another;
that the Tathāgata is after dying,
or that the Tathāgata is not after dying,
or that the Tathāgata both is and is not after dying,
or that the Tathāgata neither is nor is not after dying,
then will I fare the Brahma-faring under the Lord.

But if the Lord will not explain to me
either that the world is eternal
or that the world is not eternal
or that the world is an ending thing,
or that the world is not an ending thing;
that the life-principle is the same as the body,
or that the life-principle is one thing,
the body another;
that the Tathāgata is after dying,
or that the Tathāgata is not after dying,
or that the Tathāgata both is and is not after dying,
or that the Tathāgata neither is nor is not after dying,
then will I, disavowing the training,
revert to secular life."

 


 

If the Lord knows that the world is eternal,
let the Lord explain to me
that the world is eternal.

If the Lord knows that the world is not eternal,
let the Lord explain to me that the world is not eternal.

If the Lord does not know whether the world is eternal
or whether the world is not eternal,
then, not knowing,
not seeing,
this would be honest,
namely to say:

'I do not know,
I do not see.'

If the Lord knows that the world is an ending thing,
let the Lord explain to me
that the world is an ending thing.

If the Lord knows that the world is not an ending thing,
let the Lord explain to me that the world is not an ending thing.

If the Lord does not know whether the world is an ending thing
or whether the world is not an ending thing,
then, not knowing,
not seeing,
this would be honest,
namely to say:

'I do not know,
I do not see.'

If the Lord knows that the life-principle is the same as the body,
let the Lord explain to me
that the life-principle is the same as the body.

If the Lord knows that the life-principle is one thing,
the body another,
let the Lord explain to me that the life-principle is one thing,
the body another.

If the Lord does not know whether the life-principle is the same as the body
or whether the life-principle is one thing,
the body another,
then, not knowing,
not seeing,
this would be honest,
namely to say:

'I do not know,
I do not see.'

If the Lord knows that the Tathāgata is after dying,
let the Lord explain to me
that the Tathāgata is after dying.

If the Lord knows that the Tathāgata is not after dying,
let the Lord explain to me that the Tathāgata is not after dying.

If the Lord knows that the Tathāgata both is and is not after dying,
let the Lord explain to me that the Tathāgata both is and is not after dying.

If the Lord knows that the Tathāgata neither is nor is not after dying,
let the Lord explain to me that the Tathāgata neither is nor is not after dying.

If the Lord does not know that the Tathāgata is after dying,
or that the Tathāgata is not after dying,
or that the Tathāgata both is and is not after dying,
or that the Tathāgata neither is nor is not after dying,
then, not knowing,
not seeing,
this would be honest,
namely to say:

'I do not know,
I do not see.'

"But did I ever speak thus to you, Māluŋkyāputta:

'Come you, Māluŋkyāputta,
fare the Brahma-faring under me
and I will explain to you
either that the world is eternal
or that the world is not eternal
or that the world is an ending thing,
or that the world is not an ending thing;
that the life-principle is the same as the body,
or that the life-principle is one thing,
the body another;
that the Tathāgata is after dying,
or that the Tathāgata is not after dying,
or that the Tathāgata both is and is not after dying,
or that the Tathāgata neither is nor is not after dying?"

"No, revered sir."

"Or did you speak thus to me:

'I, revered sir, will fare the Brahma-faring under the Lord
if the Lord will explain to me
either that the world is eternal
or that the world is not eternal
or that the world is an ending thing,
or that the world is not an ending thing;
that the life-principle is the same as the body,
or that the life-principle is one thing,
the body another;
that the Tathāgata is after dying,
or that the Tathāgata is not after dying,
or that the Tathāgata both is and is not after dying,
or that the Tathāgata neither is nor is not after dying'?"

"No, revered sir."

"So it is agreed, Māluŋkyāputta, that neither did I say:

'Come you, Māluŋkyāputta,
fare the Brahma-faring under me
and I will explain to you
either that the world is eternal
or that the world is not eternal
or that the world is an ending thing,
or that the world is not an ending thing;
that the life-principle is the same as the body,
or that the life-principle is one thing,
the body another;
that the Tathāgata is after dying,
or that the Tathāgata is not after dying,
or that the Tathāgata both is and is not after dying,
or that the Tathāgata neither is nor is not after dying,

[99] and that neither did you say:

'I, revered sir, will fare the Brahma-faring under the Lord
if the Lord will explain to me
either that the world is eternal
or that the world is not eternal
or that the world is an ending thing,
or that the world is not an ending thing;
that the life-principle is the same as the body,
or that the life-principle is one thing,
the body another;
that the Tathāgata is after dying,
or that the Tathāgata is not after dying,
or that the Tathāgata both is and is not after dying,
or that the Tathāgata neither is nor is not after dying'."

This being so, foolish man,
who are you that you are disavowing?[4]

Whoever, Māluŋkyāputta, should speak thus:

'I will not fare the Brahma-faring under the Lord
until the Lord explains to me
whether the world is eternal
or whether the world is not eternal
or whether the world is an ending thing,
or whether the world is not an ending thing;
whether the life-principle is the same as the body,
or that the life-principle is one thing,
the body another;
or whether the Tathāgata is after dying,
or that the Tathāgata is not after dying,
or that the Tathāgata both is and is not after dying,
or that the Tathāgata neither is nor is not after dying
- this man might pass away, Māluŋkyāputta,
or ever this was explained to him by the Tathāgata.

Māluŋkyāputta, it is as if a man were pierced by an arrow
that was thickly smeared with poison
and his friends and relations,
his kith and kin,
were to procure a physician
and surgeon.[5]

He might speak thus:

'I will not draw out this arrow
until I know of the man who pierced me
whether he is a noble
or brahman
or merchant
or worker.'

He might speak thus:

'I will not draw out this arrow
until I know the name and clan
of the man who pierced me.'

He might speak thus:

'I will not draw out this arrow
until I know of the man who pierced me
whether he is tall
or short
or middling in height.'

He might speak thus:

'I will not draw out this arrow
until I know of the man who pierced me
whether he is black
or deep brown
or golden skinned.'

He might speak thus:

'I will not draw out this arrow
until I know of the man who pierced me
to what village
or market town
or town
he belongs.'

He might speak thus:

'I will not draw out this arrow
until I know of the bow from which I was pierced
whether it was a spring-bow[6]
or a cross-bow.'

He might speak thus:

'I will not draw out this arrow
until I know of the bow-string from which I was pierced
whether it was of swallow-wort
or of reed
or sinew
or hemp
or a tree.'[7] He might speak thus:

'I will not draw out this arrow
until I know of the shaft by which I was pierced
whether it was of reeds
of this kind
or that.'[8]

He [100] might speak thus:

'I will not draw out this arrow
until I know of the shaft from which I was pierced
what kind of feathers it had:
whether those of a vulture
or heron
or hawk
or peacock
or some other bird.'[9]

He might speak thus:

'I will not draw out this arrow
until I know of the shaft from which I was pierced
with what kind of sinews it was encased:
whether those of a cow
or buffalo
or deer
or monkey.'[10]

He might speak thus:

'I will not draw out this arrow
until I know of the arrow by which I was pierced
whether it was an (ordinary) arrow
or some other kind of arrow.'[11]

Māluŋkyāputta, this man might pass away
or ever this was known to him.

In the same way, Malunkyaputta,
whoever should speak thus:

'I will not fare the Brahma-faring under the Lord
until the Lord explains to me
whether the world is eternal
or whether the world is not eternal
or whether the world is an ending thing,
or whether the world is not an ending thing;
whether the life-principle is the same as the body,
or that the life-principle is one thing,
the body another;
or whether the Tathāgata is after dying,
or that the Tathāgata is not after dying,
or that the Tathāgata both is and is not after dying,
or that the Tathāgata neither is nor is not after dying
- this man might pass away, Māluŋkyāputta,
or ever this was explained to him by the Tathāgata.

 


 

The living of the Brahma-faring, Māluŋkyāputta,
could not be said to depend on the view
that the world is eternal.

Nor could the living of the Brahma-faring, Māluŋkyāputta,
be said to depend on the view
that the world is not eternal.

Whether there is the view that the world is eternal
or whether there is the view that the world is not eternal,
there is birth,
there is ageing,
there is dying,
there are grief,
sorrow,
suffering,
lamentation
and despair,
the suppression[12] of which
I lay down here and now.

The living of the Brahma-faring, Māluŋkyāputta,
could not be said to depend on the view
that the world is an ending thing.

Nor could the living of the Brahma-faring, Māluŋkyāputta,
be said to depend on the view
that the world is not an ending thing.

Whether there is the view that the world is an ending thing
or whether there is the view that the world is not an ending thing,
there is birth,
there is ageing,
there is dying,
there are grief,
sorrow,
suffering,
lamentation
and despair,
the suppression of which
I lay down here and now.

The living of the Brahma-faring, Māluŋkyāputta,
could not be said to depend on the view
that the life-principle is the same as the body.

Nor could the living of the Brahma-faring, Māluŋkyāputta,
be said to depend on the view
that the life-principle is one thing,
the body another.

Whether there is the view that the life-principle is the same as the body
or whether there is the view that the life-principle is one thing,
the body another,
there is birth,
there is ageing,
there is dying,
there are grief,
sorrow,
suffering,
lamentation
and despair,
the suppression of which
I lay down here and now.

The living of the Brahma-faring, Māluŋkyāputta,
could not be said to depend on the view
that the Tathāgata is after dying.

Nor could the living of the Brahma-faring, Māluŋkyāputta,
be said to depend on the view
that the Tathāgata is not after dying.

Nor could the living of the Brahma-faring, Māluŋkyāputta,
be said to depend on the view
that the Tathāgata both is and is not after dying.

Nor could the living of the Brahma-faring, Māluŋkyāputta,
be said to depend on the view
that the Tathāgata neither is nor is not after dying.

Whether there is the view that the Tathāgata is after dying,
or that the Tathāgata is not after dying,
or that the Tathāgata both is and is not after dying,
or that the Tathāgata neither is nor is not after dying,
there is birth,
[101] there is ageing,
there is dying,
there are grief,
sorrow,
suffering,
lamentation
and despair,
the suppression of which
I lay down here and now.

Wherefore, Māluŋkyāputta, understand
as not explained
what has not been explained by me,
and understand as explained
what has been explained by me.

And what, Māluŋkyāputta, has not been explained by me?

That the world is eternal has not been explained by me, Māluŋkyāputta;
that the world is not eternal has not been explained by me, Māluŋkyāputta;
that the world is an ending thing has not been explained by me, Māluŋkyāputta;
that the world is not an ending thing has not been explained by me, Māluŋkyāputta;
that the life-principle is the same as the body, has not been explained by me, Māluŋkyāputta;
that the life-principle is one thing,
the body another has not been explained by me, Māluŋkyāputta;
that the Tathāgata is after dying, has not been explained by me, Māluŋkyāputta;
that the Tathāgata is not after dying has not been explained by me, Māluŋkyāputta;
that the Tathāgata both is and is not after dying has not been explained by me, Māluŋkyāputta;
that the Tathāgata neither is nor is not after dying has not been explained by me, Māluŋkyāputta.

And why, Māluŋkyāputta, has this not been explained by me?

It is because it is not connected with the goal,
is not fundamental to the Brahma-faring,
and does not conduce to turning away from,
nor to dispassion,
stopping,
calming,
super-knowledge,
awakening nor to nibbāna.

Therefore it has not been explained by me, Māluŋkyāputta.

And what has been explained by me, Māluŋkyāputta?

'This is anguish'
has been explained by me, Māluŋkyāputta.

'This is the arising of anguish'
has been explained by me.

'This is the stopping of anguish'
has been explained by me.

'This is the course leading to the stopping of anguish'
has been explained by me.

And why, Māluŋkyāputta,
has this been explained by me?

It is because it is connected with the goal,
is fundamental to the Brahma-faring,
and conduces to turning away from,
to dispassion,
stopping,
calming,
super-knowledge,
awakening
and nibbāna.

Therefore it has been explained by me.

Wherefore, Māluŋkyāputta,
understand as not explained
what has not been explained by me,
and understand as explained
what has been explained by me."

Thus spoke the Lord.

Delighted, the venerable Māluŋkyāputta rejoiced in what the Lord had said.

Lesser Discourse to Malunkya(putta):
The Third

 


[1] Referred to at Miln.. 144.

[2] Two sets of verses are ascribed to him in Thag: 399-404 (ver. 404 speaking of drawing out the arrow, or dart, salla, see below, p. 99), and 794-817. For further references see DPPN.

"explains tathāgata by satta," this means that this term as used here applies to beings who have attained the goal as opposed to the use where it is used as a name for the Buddha.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

[3] MA. iii. 141 explains tathāgata by satta, being; cf. MA. ii. 117. At UdA. 340 tathāgata is explained by atta.

"Who being what disavowing?" Being neither a person to whom it was said, "follow me and I will..." nor a person who said "I will follow you only if...", who are you in this matter and what are you disavowing?

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

[4] As at D. iii. 3. Ko santo kaɱ paccācikkhasi might also mean; being whom what are you disavowing?

[5] As at M. ii. 216, 256.

[6] This is a tentative translation of cāpa; cf. capala, wavering, trembling, quivering. The word cāpātikhiṇā occurs at Dhp. 156.

[7] khīrapaṇṇiɱ, Eulotropis gigantea, a tree whose leaves contain milky sap, as the Pali name indicates.

[8] Two kinds are mentioned: yadi vā kacchaɱ yadi vā ropimaɱ. On the two kinds of kaccha mentioned at MA. iii. 142 (mountain and river) cf. SnA 33. Ropimaɱ is explained at MA. iii. 142 as: making an arrow (or, reed) taken from a thicket of (sara-) reeds.

[9] A specific kind of bird is mentioned, sithilahanu.

[10] semhāra, meaning conjectural, PED; but MA. iii. 142 gives makkaṭa.

[11] Together with salla a usual word for arrow or dart, the text mentions five other kinds: khurappa, vekaṇḍa, nārāca, vacchadanta, karavīrapatta. Not one is commented upon at MA. iii. 142.

[12] nighāta, the destruction, overthrow, striking down.

 


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